The Madhya Pradesh high court has allowed restaurants, pubs and cafes to serve hookah in designated smoking zones, observing that the Indore district administration’s 2011 order prohibiting it was restricted to public places.
Justice SC Sharma of the Indore bench passed the order, whose certified copy was received on Sunday, while relying on the earlier judgments of the Supreme Court on the matter.
Shoeab Aslam, a lounge owner, had moved a petition before the high court challenging the district collector’s order prohibiting serving of hookah at cafes, restaurants and pubs.
According to Supreme Court rulings, any person more than 18 years of age can be served hookah in designated smoking zones. The apex court had held that the hotel and restaurant owners cannot be permitted to offer hookah or use of tobacco products by pipe or by any other instrument on each and every table under the garb of service, but it can be permitted in “smoking area”, legal sources said.
Until the ban was imposed by the district administration on hookah in 2011, Indore had about 120 small and big hookah parlours.
The district administration has clamped section 144 of IPC against “facilitation of hookah smoking” on more than 19 instances, the latest one on November 23, 2015.
The high court has declined the petition challenging the collector’s order observing that the district magistrate may pass such an order in case of “emergent situation”.