Herbal hookah: HC directs police not to park vehicles outside restaurants, bars

Oct 21, 2021

New Delhi [India], October 21 : The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the city police not to harass or park vehicles outside the premises of restaurants and bars which have moved Court with their plea seeking permission to sell or serve flavoured hookahs.
Justice Rekha Palli, however, said that police may conduct random checks to know the status of whether hookahs are being served or not. There is no purpose in creating inconvenience to customers.
Delhi Police further submitted that "they will not park vehicles outside the premises and restaurants." The court took it on record.
Delhi Government told the court that the authorities concerned on October 14 decided to continue the ban on the use of hookah till further orders.
The HC directed the state government to reconsider the issue within five days or file an affidavit if it thinks the continuation of prohibition is necessary. The court listed the matter for further hearing on October 29.
Earlier the bench while issuing notice to the government of National Capital Territory (NCT) Delhi had also asked the respondents to take a decision keeping livelihood balanced.
Court had also asked the respondent to think about every aspect as you are opening other activities also and they (petitioners) are willing to undertake the safety norms.
Delhi Government earlier opposed the plea and stated that no hookah is allowed during the present pandemic. A single mistake can cause trouble to the entire Delhi as the use or sharing of hookah may further increase the spread of COVID-19.
Hookah is not a necessary thing. Use of hookah, be it herbal, with or without tobacco is strictly prohibited in all public places including hotels, restaurants, eatery houses, bars and pubs, in the national capital, Advocate Santosh Kumar Tripathi, appearing for the Delhi government had submitted.
Several bars, restaurants, eating have recently approached the Delhi High Court requesting the court to issue direction to the Delhi government and Delhi Police not to interfere with the sale /service of herbal flavour hookahs and not to take coercive/ adverse steps.
Advocate Nandini Sahni appearing for the petitioners contended that individual hookah will be provided to the customers and they will not share the same hookah with other customers in the restaurants and eatery houses run by them.
The petitioners also seek court direction to restrain respondents not to cause any obstruction or interference in the smooth running of eating house/ restaurant/bar of petitioner and allow service of herbal hookahs in the restaurant /bar of the petitioner.
The plea further stated that the petitioners have suffered acute financial loss due to the closure of their business during lockdown for almost 14-15 months and now that petitioner has started their business recently and Delhi Police interfering illegally as a result the footfall is declining.
The festive season is approaching fast and the petitioner company wants to run their business smoothly and earn some money so that they can pay off their previous loans /debts/ arrears of rentals etc.