Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed petitions filed by several hookah parlour owners in response to a circular issued regarding ban on sale of tobacco products, including hookahs in eating joints.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice G S Godbole observed that commissioner of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has the authority to impose restrictions on all articles that are hazardous towards public health.
One of the petitioners, Berry Hotels that runs Mocha cafe in south Mumbai challenged the circular issued by the civic body on grounds that municipal commissioner has no power or right to issue restrictions under Central Act provision of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA).
Advocate Geeta Joglekar, appeared for BMC, putting forward section 394 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act that gives a wider scope and permits the commissioner to ban articles that are hazardous for public health.
The circular was issued by the bench to incorporate the provisions of COTPA in licenses that were issued to all eating joints favoring the public interest litigation filed by NGO Crusade alleging that minors are allowed to purchase hookahs in these eating joints.
As per the circular issued by BMC all the restaurants and eating joints are prohibited from selling or providing any tobacco related products like cigarettes or hookahs. Hookah owners retorted saying they will now be challenge the High court order in the Apex court.