HC gives BMC six weeks to act against hookah parlours

Hookah parlours in the city now stand to lose their licenses if they don’t abide by the provisions of Cigarettes and Tobacco Products Prohibition Act and Smoking in Public Places rules. The Bombay High Court (HC) on Thursday directed the civic body to include a condition in licenses issued to eating houses, saying that any eating house not abiding by the provisions of these two acts is likely to face action.

The HC has directed the police to take action against the erring outlets

The HC has directed the police to take action against the erring outlets

The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Girish Godbole has directed the BMC to include this condition both for new and existing licenses and gave a deadline of six weeks.

Provisions of these two acts include not serving tobacco in consumable form to minors, having a separate smoking zone in the eating house – walled from all the four sides with separate ventilation among other things.

Observing that awareness about the various provisions of these acts are abysmally low, the court which was hearing a petition filed by an NGO Crusade Against Tobacco, directed the petitioner to conduct a workshop for BMC and police officials for the same.

The petitioner, represented by advocate Anand Grover, had contended that the police were lethargic about taking action against the hookah parlours, where hookah was being served even to minors, in violation of the law.

Moreover, in the event of any complaint, the parlour owners were allegedly informed in advance about a raid planned at their eating houses.

The Commissioner of Police Arup Patnaik, who was summoned by the court on the last hearing, filed an affidavit detailing the list of 16 eateries the police had taken action against in the last four days.

However, advocate Mubin Solkar, who intervened in the case, prayed before the court the police should not take action against the law-abiding eateries.

He was representing Infinity Hotels Pvt Ltd – a group which runs four prestigious hotels in Mumbai and none of them are hookah parlours.

He contended that the police may harass innocent people in the pretext of implementing the law. He claimed support of about 40 elite city restaurants.

The HC has directed the police to take action against only the outlets that are not following the relevant provisions of the acts and submit a report to the court by next date, which is July 7.

source: www.mumbaimirror.com

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