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Mumbai restaurateur moves HC, seeks permission to serve ‘herbal’ hookah

In his petition, the restaurateur said the provisions of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, are not applicable to tobacco-free hookah and the authorities cannot take coercive action against him if he starts serving “herbal” hookah.

mumbai Updated: May 22, 2019 10:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
bombay HC,herbal hookah,COTPA
The restaurateur says that he had tendered a number of representations to various authorities stating that tobacco-free hookah was not covered under provisions of the recent amendment to COTPA. (HT File / Representative Photo )

A Mumbai-based restaurateur has approached the Bombay high court (HC) seeking a declaration on allowing him to serve “herbal” hookah at three rooftop restaurants.

In his petition, the restaurateur said the provisions of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, are not applicable to tobacco-free hookah and the authorities cannot take coercive action against him if he starts serving “herbal” hookah.

He further said that he had employed more than 400 people in the restaurants. However, his outlets have been shut after 14 people lost their lives in a fire tragedy at a rooftop restaurant in Kamala Mills two years ago.

After the incident, the state amended COTPA and imposed a blanket ban on hookah bars in the city. It also prescribed imprisonment of up to three years.

The restaurateur further contended that he had tendered a number of representations to various authorities stating that tobacco-free hookah was not covered under provisions of the recent amendment to COTPA. However, the authorities concerned did not respond to his representations.

He also complained that cigarettes are allowed to be sold though it has been proven that smoking causes cancer. But he was being prevented from serving tobacco-free hookah.

The petition is likely to come up for hearing after the summer vacation.

First Published: May 22, 2019 10:25 IST