Despite the fact that deputy commissioner Rahul Tewari has extended the ban on hookah bars for another 60 days in the entire district, such business ventures continue to thrive in several areas due to measly fine that can be imposed on offenders.
Police had raided Mochaccina Hookah Bar at Ansal Plaza in the city on Friday night and seized nine hookahs and 10 boxes of tobacco and other material used for smoking. A case was registered against the owner and the manager under Section 188 of the IPC.
It was learnt that raids by police and health officials on hookah bars had failed to deter owners since the only option with health officials after a raid was to challan owners and customers present in the bars. However, as the challan amount was a mere Rs. 200 it hardly proved a deterrent to these hookah bars.
So keeping in mind the public interest, the DC had banned hookah bars under Section 144 in March 2012, but recent police raids revealed that these bar were still operating.
According to the latest order passed by the DC under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, no hookah shall be placed for the consumption of visitors in restaurants or hookah bars.
The DC said any person, who violated the order, would be punished under Section 188 of the IPC. The order shall remain in force as prescribed under the CrPC.
The district magistrate said the civil surgeon had apprised him that a number of hookah bars were operational in the district and were serving tobacco molasses, containing nicotine, which was highly injurious to the health, especially of minors. There was also a suspicion that apart from tobacco, other harmful substances were also mixed with tobacco molasses and served in these bars.
The civil surgeon had also said that certain districts had already banned such hookah bars under Section 144 of the CrPC. Keeping in view the general health and goodwill of the public and to ensure that school or college-going minors do not become victim to the menace, hookah bars have been banned in the district.