- The Delhi High Court on Feb 9 allowed a cafe to serve herbal hookah with certain restrictions
- Petitioner had challenged August 2020 Delhi Govt order, interference in operation by authorities
- Justice V Kameswar Rao allowed Punter House Cafe to serve herbal hookah only with disposable pipes
He issued notice to the Health and family welfare department of the Delhi Government, Delhi Police and Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) to file their reply on the petition. The court directed to file a reply within 4 weeks and listed the matter along with two similar petitions on 28 April 2022.
The High court said that the petitioner is allowed to serve strictly herbal hookah only with disposable pipes till the next date of hearing. The petitioner shall file an affidavit to this effect.
The bench said the case of the petitioner is covered under the order of 27 January. As far as the operation with 50 per cent capacity is concerned, he will follow the same precautions mentioned in that order.
The petitioners have challenged the 3 August 2020 orders that prohibited the use and sharing of hookah with and without tobacco (herbal hookah) at public places in view that it may further increase the spread of Covid.
Advocate Anubhav Singh, counsel for the petitioner, argued that DDMA has allowed the operation of the mall, cinema hall etc. with 50 per cent capacity. Still, the operation of the herbal hookah bar is interfered with in wake of the August 2020 order. Counsel further argued that the impugned order included the herbal hookah in the category of smoking which is not correct.
He said herbal hookah does not use tobacco therefore it does not fall under the category of smoking. He further argued that the service of herbal hookah was prohibited through the said order but there was no restriction on the sale and smoking of cigarettes which is more injurious to health. Advocate Santosh Kumar Tripathi appearing for the Delhi government objected to the petitioner's contention saying that smoking was prohibited at public places and bars also come under the category of public places. He also submitted that cigarette smoking is private but the sharing of hookah is a public action.