A post is being widely shared on social media platforms claiming that Goa banned drinking alcohol on beaches and a fine of ₹5,000 to ₹50,000 would be imposed if there is a violation. Let’s verify the claim made in the post.
Claim: Goa banned drinking alcohol on beaches and a fine of ₹5,000 to ₹50,000 would be imposed if there is a violation.
Fact: Goa Government has banned the alcohol consumption in the open in 2013 itself. However, the amendment to the existing ‘Goa Tourist Places (Protection and Maintenance) Act, 2001’ was made in 2019. According to this rule, consumption of liquor, cooking food in open and breaking of glass bottles were prohibited in tourist places (which includes beaches). The latest order issued on 31 October 2022, just directs the police authorities to strictly implement these provisions. However, all the licensed shacks at the beaches are allowed to serve alcohol to their customers. This ban only restricts open consumption of alcohol at beaches and other tourist places. Violating this rule may lead to a fine of ₹5000 to ₹50,000. Hence the claim made in the post is MISLEADING.
We searched the internet with the relevant keywords and found an article on ‘The Hindu’ published on 24 April 2013. According to this article, Goa government banned drinking liquor on beaches in a bid to curb littering and nuisance caused to women tourists. The ban has been imposed under ‘Goa Tourist Places (Protection and Maintenance) Act’ which gives the right to the state government to ban things which create nuisance in the tourism zones. The violation will attract arrest. However, the prohibition order is not applicable to drinking in licensed shacks or any other places where retail sale of liquor is allowed.
Taking a cue from this, We searched the said ‘Goa Tourist Places (Protection and Maintenance) Act, 2001’ . According to NDTV’s article dated 25 January 2019, Goa Government passed a new bill amending this act in January 2019.
As per the amendment, consumption of liquor/cooking food in open, littering waste materials, breaking glass bottles are prohibited in tourist places. Any person violation the above provisions would be liable to pay a fine of ₹ 2000 and ₹10,000, if a group of people flouted the law. In case, the person/persons refused to pay the fine, they shall be liable for imprisonment. Moreover, this law holds the seller of the liquor responsible if their customers carry alcohol bottles and cans to tourist places.
The list of places which are considered tourist places in Goa can be seen here. This explains that people are not allowed to consume alcohol at any beach openly in Goa. They are allowed to do it only at the licensed shacks or other authorised places at the beach.
However, on 31 October 2022, Goa’s Director of Tourism Nikhil Desai issued an order to the concerned police officers to strictly implement the following rules which were already enforced under various laws made by the Goa Government earlier like ban on consumption of alcohol in open and breaking of glass bottles etc. As per this order, violators of the said rules are liable to pay a fine of ₹5000 which may be extended up to ₹50,000.
Also, according to Tourism shack policy 2022-23, for sale of any food and alcoholic beverages, necessary license shall have to be obtained by the allottee from the Department of Food & Drugs Administration and Excise.
To sum it up, consumption of liquor in open areas at beaches has been prohibited in Goa since 2013. But one can consume alcohol at any licensed shack or any other place where retail liquor sale is allowed.