Republic Day 2024: Here's What You Need To Know About Dry Days

The upcoming Republic Day in India is set to be a dry day. You may already know that certain national holidays in the country are marked as dry days. A "dry day" refers to a day when the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited. As India gears up to mark its 75th Republic Day on January 26, it’s worth noting why the country observes this national holiday as a dry day.

Apart from Republic Day, there are quite a few days which are observed as dry days, most notably, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti. According to the Excise Department of Delhi Ram Navami, Guru Ravi Das Jayanti and Holi, etc are also dry days. The sale of alcohol in stores is now allowed during these days, and most hotels and restaurants halt serving alcoholic drinks for a day.

The idea of observing a dry day on national or patriotic holidays, religious festivals, elections, and important anniversaries dates back to the pre-independence era when various states imposed restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol. India has had a complicated relationship with alcohol consumption and different Indian states follow different policies. Article 47 of the Indian constitution clearly says that “The State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.”

Prohibition has been a cause for many Indian leaders and records confirm that India suggested a World No Alcohol Day at the World Health Assembly in Geneva in 2008 and that too on October 2, which is Gandhi Jayanti. Mahatma Gandhi was the leader of the Indian Temperance Movement, so this suggestion made complete sense. 11 Southeast Asian nations agreed to endorse the suggestion and October 2nd is now known as World No Alcohol Day.

Certain Indian states like Gujarat and Bihar exercise a complete ban on the sale of liquor in their jurisdiction year-round. Haryana, on the other hand, allows the sale of liquor after 5 p.m. on Independence Day and Republic Day. In Gujarat, the sale of alcohol is banned since 1960. Mizoram also joined the ranks of dry states in 2019. 

More recently, on the day of Ram Mandir's 'pran pratishtha' ceremony, on January 22, five states announced a one-day ban on the sale of alcohol. As per the CM's directives, liquor shops remained closed in the states of UP, Rajasthan, Assam, Chattisgarh, Uttarakhand