Bollywood Actor to Fight New Drinking Age Laws
Top Bollywood actor Imran Khan said Friday he would challenge in court a decision to raise the age for buying alcohol in India's entertainment capital, slamming the new law as double standards.
Khan, who is teetotal, said he planned to file a case in the Bombay High Court against the state government of Maharashtra, which earlier this month upped the minimum age for buying beer from 18 to 21 and spirits from 21 to 25.
The government has brought in the new law as part of moves to discourage under-age consumption and problem drinking across the state.
Khan, who is the nephew of the actor-producer-director Aamir Khan, told a news conference in Mumbai that the restrictions set a "very, very dangerous precedent" and were an infringement of constitutional rights.
Young people in India are classed as adults from the age of 18 and are able to vote and get married. As a result, banning the sale and consumption of alcohol until 21 and 25 was inconsistent and "arbitrary", he said.
"If you can set one double standard today, it's a very, very slippery slope," said the 28-year-old actor, whose new film, "Delhi Belly", is released next month.
"It's time for someone to stand up and say something. (Alcoholism and problem drinking) is not an age-specific problem. It's a problem that can affect anyone of any age."
The new law is the latest to hit cosmopolitan Mumbai, which has a vibrant nightlife centred around bars and nightclubs, most of which attract a younger, well-heeled crowd.
Last year, the state government hiked taxes on foreign-branded liquor and beer manufactured in India.