The Government of Bihar has notified the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Amendment Rules, 2023. The Amendment Rules seek to further amend Bihar Prohibition and Excise Rules, 2021. These Amendment Rules were issued on 31st May, 2023 and shall come into effect upon their publication in the official gazette.
It may be recalled that by virtue of the Bihar Prohibition & Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2022, a new rule had been added on Release of Vehicles, Conveyance etc. on Payment of Penalty.
This rule, inter alia, provided that the penalty levied on a seized conveyance would be 50% of the latest insured value of vehicle/conveyance.
However, by virtue of the present amendment the fixation of the amount of penalty levied on a seized conveyance would be at the discretion of the Collector or the Officer authorized by him. However the penalty shall not be less than 10% of the insured value of the vehicle, but shall not be more than Rs. five lakh.
Furthermore, the amendment states that the imposition of penalty will be based on the following circumstances:
- quantity of intoxicant recovered,
- involvement of the vehicle owner and
- latest insurance value of the vehicle
Pertinently, the insured value is the value of the vehicle as assessed by the insurance company. Where, the insured value is not available or the Collector or the officer authorized by him has reason to believe that the vehicle is undervalued, he shall get the valuation done by the District Transport Officer.
Ultimately, if the accused/owner does not pay the penalty within 15 days from the date of seizure, the Collector will proceed with the confiscation/auction of the vehicle/ conveyance.