Municipal corporations cannot prohibit a restaurant from selling cigarettes as such a rule would violate the law that regulates sale, production, advertisement and distribution of tobacco products.
A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and RF Nariman also held that restaurants can provide for hookahs in designated areas where guests are allowed to smoke while dining out. “It is clear that any condition which prohibits the sale of cigarettes or any other tobacco products in premises licenced by the municipal corporation would amount to adding another exception which would be impermissible in law,” read the judgment, written by justice Nariman.
It noted that the only exception in law is cigarettes can’t be sold within 100 yards of any educational institution and to a person less than 18 years.
The bench disagreed with the counsel for the municipal corporations that sale of tobacco-related products cigarette was equivalent to providing a service, which is barred under the law. It added that in sale, there was transfer of property and is not similar to service being provided by a hospitality outlet.
The bench said the act of prohibiting smoking in public made it incumbent on the owner or the proprietor of a public place to ensure that no person smokes in that place. The court upheld the municipal corporations’ right to specify the dimensions of the smoking area.