HC asks Delhi govt to reconsider decision on sale or service of hukkahs in bars, restaurants

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Representative image
Representative image

New Delhi [India], October 8 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Friday granted more time to the Delhi Government and Department of Health and Family Welfare and asked it to reconsider and to take a decision on the sale or service of herbal flavoured hukkahs in eating houses, restaurants, and bars in the national capital.

A bench of Justice Rekha Pallu deferred the matter for October 18 and asked Delhi Government to file an affidavit in this regard.

Delhi Government's standing counsel Santosh Tripathi said the last order asked the Department of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) to consider but it was Health Department that passed the order.

Earlier the bench while issuing notice to the Government of NCT Delhi had also asked the respondents to take a decision keeping in mind that livelihood has to be taken into account.

The Court had also asked the respondents to think about every aspect as they are opening other activities and the petitioners are willing to undertake safety norms.

The Delhi Government earlier opposed the plea and stated that "No Hookah at all allowed at the present pandemic". A single mistake can cause trouble to entire Delhi as the use or sharing of hookah may further increase the spread of COVID-19.

Hookah is not a necessary thing. Use of hookah, be it herbal, with or without tobacco is strictly prohibited in all public places including hotels, restaurants, eatery houses, bars, and pubs, in the national capital, Advocate Santosh Kumar Tripathi, appearing for Delhi Government submitted.

Several bars, restaurants, eateries have recently approached the Delhi High Court requesting the court to issue direction to the Delhi Government and Delhi Police not to interfere with the sale, service of herbal flavored hookahs and not to take coercive, adverse steps.

Advocate Nandini Sahni appearing for the petitioners contended that individual hukkahs will be provided to the customers and will not be shared with other customers in the restaurants and eatery houses run by them.

The petitioners also sought the court's direction to restrain respondents not to cause any obstruction or interference in the smooth running of eating house, restaurant, bar of petitioner and allow service of herbal hukkahs in the restaurant, bar of the petitioner.

The plea further stated that the petitioners have suffered acute financial loss due to the closure of their business during lockdown for almost 14-15 months and now the petitioners have started their business recently and Delhi Police is interfering illegally in the running of the business, as a result thereof it has let to decline in footfall. The festive season is approaching fast and the petitioners company wants to run their business smoothly and earn some money so that they can pay off their previous loans, debts, arrears of rentals etc. (ANI)

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