HC grants time to Delhi government to reconsider prohibition on herbal hookahs due to Covid-19 | Delhi News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court Friday granted two days’ time to the Health and Family Welfare Department of the Delhi government to reconsider its order prohibiting the use of herbal hookah in public places to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Justice Rekha Palli, hearing a batch of petitions by restaurants seeking a direction to authorities to not interfere with the sale of herbal flavoured hookahs, directed that an affidavit be filed by the department after reconsideration.
The matter would be heard next on October 18.
Last month, the court had directed the Delhi government to ask the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) to reconsider the issue.
Delhi government counsel Santosh Tripathi informed the court that since the August 3 order which prohibited the use of herbal hookah in public places was passed by the Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, DDMA could not have reconsidered it.
The court, however, responded that the direction for reconsideration was issued to the Delhi government which was now taking a “technical stand”.
“This court is unable to appreciate the stand as GNCTD (Delhi government) is the first respondent and was expected to reconsider the issue,” the judge stated as it granted further time to the Delhi government to take a decision.
“The matter has been adjourned from time to time. The court granted time with the expectation that the DDMA would reconsider whether the prohibition in the order was required to be continued. In the interest of justice, two days’ time is granted to the department to reconsider the order,” the judge said.
“You are opening Ramlila. You are opening everything,” the court remarked.
Delhi government counsel stated that removing restrictions on hookahs was “not the same” as masks are required to be taken off to use them.
On September 17, the high court had asked the Delhi government why DDMA’s order prohibiting the use of herbal hookah in public places to contain the spread of Covid-19 be not re-considered when breath analyser test was being allowed now.
The high court had issued notice and sought a response from the Delhi government on five separate pleas by restaurants and bars seeking to direct the state and police not to interfere with the sale of herbal flavoured hookahs or take coercive steps against them.
Separate petitions were filed by Breath Fine Lounge and Bar, TOS, R High Speedbar and Lounge, Verandah Moonshine, and Sixth Empirica Lounge in West Punjabi Bagh, challenging the order of the Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing Unit) prohibiting and excluding the sale or service of herbal flavoured hookahs in restaurant/ bar being run by them.
The pleas said the petitioners are serving herbal hookahs for which no licence is required as they are totally without tobacco but the police are still conducting raids, seizing equipment, and issuing challans.
The Delhi government has been opposing the pleas saying for a single mistake, the entire Delhi would have to pay a heavy price, and allowing hookah consumption in public places may spread Covid-19 since people would be sharing it.
The Delhi government has said the use of hookah, be it with or without tobacco, in all public places including hotels, restaurants, eatery houses, bars, pubs, and discotheques, in the national capital is strictly prohibited as the use or sharing of hookah may further increase the spread of Covid-19.
Delhi government counsel had referred to the August 3, 2020 order passed by the Health Department which observed that in public places, use and sharing of hookah with and without tobacco (herbal hookah) may further increase the spread of coronavirus.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *