The Bihar government on Thursday prohibited civil service and state government officials from drinking alcohol and consuming “intoxicating drugs”, even if they are outside the dry state. The state’s governor announced an amendment to the Bihar Government Servants’ Conduct Rules 1976 and said the rule was effective immediately. The decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting led by chief minister Nitish Kumar.

“Every government servant shall strictly abide by any law relating to intoxicating drinks or drugs, in force in any area in which he may happen to be,” the state notification said. Bihar government officials have already signed pledges vowing to refrain from consuming alcohol, DNA reported.

“If anyone is found breaching the new rules, departmental proceedings can be initiated against them and punishment, as decided by the appointing authority, can range from fine and suspension to demotion and service termination,” an unidentified official told DNA. The official said investigations may be initiated based on evidence ranging from “random medical tests, photographs on social media or even sting operations”.

On January 2, the Bihar government had approached the Supreme Court to seek the transfer of a petition against the liquor ban, which has been in force since 2016. The state government had enforced the Prohibition and Excise Act two days after the Patna High Court had declared the state’s law prohibiting alcohol, the Bihar (Amendment) Act, illegal.

The Bihar (Amendment) Act was passed in the state Legislative Assembly on March 31. In April, the state government had claimed that crime rates in Bihar had dropped by 27% after the ban on the sale of alcohol came into effect on April 5 last year.