Pugoda Magistrate Rules Consumption Of Alcohol In Public Is Not An Offence

Pugoda Magistrate and Additional District Judge Indika Kalingawansha has stated that consumption of alcohol in public is not an offence. 

The Magistrate has said that people cannot be prosecuted under the charge of consuming alcohol in public. "They can only be prosecuted only if they disturb other people under the influence of alcohol," the Magistrate said releasing three people who were prosecuted for consuming alcohol in public. 
 
However, it is clear that even the Police Department does not have a clear understanding of the law pertaining to alcohol consumption in Sri Lanka. At the same time, Sri Lanka is yet to formulate a national alcohol policy to regulate various aspects of the industry. 
 
Alcohol policies in other countries govern the manufacture, promotion, distribution, sale and use of alcohol are consequential in effectively monitoring the industry and also to reduce or prevent alcohol-related harm.
 
According to media reports, Sri Lanka, as a country, has extremely high rates of per capita consumption of alcohol – 7.4 litres for recorded or licit alcohol. For males above 15 years, the consumption rate is 15.2 litres. The Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC) says that 43 percent of urban dwellers, 65 percent of male estate workers, 25 percent of female estate workers and 50 percent of fathers of schoolchildren consume alcohol in Sri Lanka.
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