Thursday, March 30, 2023

Delhi High Court directs Delhi govt to consider allowing sale, service of Herbal Hookah

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The Delhi High Court on Friday has directed the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Delhi Government to consider allowing sale and service of Herbal Hookah in Delhi within two days. 

The single-judge bench of Justice Rekha Palli directed the Department of Health and Family Welfare to file an affidavit regarding the consideration allowing sale and service of Herbal Hookah in Delhi.

During the hearing today, Advocate Santosh Kumar Tripathi appearing on behalf of the Government of NCT of Delhi submitted that the impugned order was passed by Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare and no specific direction was given to the department, requested the court to direct the Department to consider this petition as a representation.

The matter would now be heard on October 18. At the previous hearing, the court pulled up the Delhi Government for filling an affidavit without reconsidering its decision of not allowing the sale and service of Herbal Hookah in Delhi.

The separate petitions were filed by Breath Fine Lounge and Bar, TOS, R High Speedbar and Lounge, Verandah Moonshine and Sixth Empirica Lounge in West Punjabi Bagh, challenging the order of the JCP (Licensing Unit) prohibiting and excluding the sale or service of herbal-flavoured hookahs in restaurants/bars being run by them.

The petitioners stated that they are serving herbal hookahs for which no license is required as they are total without tobacco but the police are still conducting raids, seizing equipment, and issuing challans.

They have sought to declare that definition of ”smoking” under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), does not cover herbal flavored hookahs and to direct the authorities not to take any extreme step of suspension or cancellation of registration certificate of the petitioners.

The Delhi government order passed on August 3, 2020, by the Health Department observed that in public places, use and sharing of hookah with and without tobacco (herbal hookah) may further increase spread of coronavirus.

“Now, therefore, in exercise of powers conferred by the Delhi Epidemic Diseases, COVID-19, Regulations, 2020 under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, the use of hookah (with or without tobacco, that is, herbal hookah, water pipes and other hookah like devices) in all public places including hotels, restaurants, eatery houses, bars, pubs, discotheques, etc, of the NCT of Delhi is strictly prohibited with immediate effect, for the purpose of prevention and control of the outbreak of epidemic disease namely Covid-19 in NCT of Delhi,” the Delhi government order said.

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