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Imran to file PIL, wants drinking age reduced

Friday June 17, 2011 08:08:08 PM, IANS

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Maharashtra raises minimum age for alcohol consumption

In an attempt to discourage youngsters from consuming alcohol, the Maharashtra government Wednesday raised the minimum age for drinking beer from 18 to 21 years and for hard liquor from 21 to 25 years. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan denied that this   »

Hike in drinking age a gimmick, say Mumbai

Mumbai: Bollywood actor Imran Khan Friday vowed to file a PIL against the Maharashtra government's decision to scale up the minimum age for liquor consumption to 25 years, calling it "illogical".

"I am in conversation with my lawyers. I hold an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, so I'm not eligible to file a PIL (Public Interest Litigation). It will be filed on my behalf," Imran told reporters here.

"I'm taking this step because I'm troubled by a growing perception that young people need to be managed, that they need to be handled. People feel we are incapable of making rational, informed decisions for ourselves.

"As members of a democratic society it is our right and sometimes our duty to stand up and ask whether our government is doing the right thing.

"The decision by the government to raise the legal drinking age from 21 to 25 is illogical and counter productive.

"We all have a tendency to complain without taking action, and I felt that the time has come to stand up and do something," he added.

The 28-year-old revealed that the best way to take a stance was to go to court.

"Through the PIL, I will be requesting the government to review the law. I feel this is a very reasonable and moderate stance...

"It is my opinion and the opinion of many other people of my age, younger and older to me, that this decision is contrary to our constitutional rights," he added.

But he quickly added: "I do not endorse consumption of alcohol. Alcohol can damage health, it can ruin careers, it can tear families apart. I have seen this personally.

"But I feel when it is agreed that a person is an adult at a particular age, whatever that age may be, be it 18 or 21 years, they should have the right to indulge in any activity of their choice which is legal in that country.

"If you are saying that alcohol is legal in this country, then anyone who is an adult should have the right to choose whether they want to take (liquor) or not. If you feel alcohol is bad, then it should be banned.

"If something is illegal, I will never question it. But if you are not doing that, then every adult should have the freedom of choice," he added.

Imran will also launch a campaign on social networking site Facebook, calling it Power To youth. He also plans to launch a signature campaign.

He denied this was a way to promote his forthcoming movie "Delhi Belly".

"(It) might appear to be a publicity stunt to many. But this is an issue that is much larger than any film. It is something that will take time and effort, still I am committing myself to this cause.

"I can't help if the government (took) this decision when my movie is coming out," he said.

Imran said he consulted his uncle Aamir Khan.

"The first question he asked me was that are you sure you want to do this? Do you feel very strongly about this?

"He said that unless you personally and morally don't feel very strongly, you should not go ahead. When I told him that I am sure about doing this, he said 'I should go ahead'," said the actor. 







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