On Thursday, the High Court of Delhi refused to entertain a PIL seeking directions to conduct immediate inspection & action against owners of the hookah bars operating illegally, without any statutory license in south Delhi, after finding several discrepancies in the plea.
The bench of Justice DN Patel & Justice Prateek Jalan showed displeasure with the petitioner & said the matter deserved to be dismissed with a heavy cost, though keeping in view the present pandemic situation, the same is not being imposed & asked him to withdraw.
The Public Interest Litigation sought directions to civic agency & Delhi Govt to immediately close, seal off such premises if found in contravention of the laws, & submit an action taken report vis-a-vis the progress & list of the illegal hookah bars running in their jurisdiction.
The petition also sought a direction to Delhi Police to start inspection & take immediate action against the owners of hookah bars whether licensed or non-licensed, eatery houses & restaurants wherever the sale of hookah is continuing amidst the Coronavirus pandemic which is in complete violation of notification of the Delhi Govt dated Aug 3, 2020, & effect the immediate shut down of such premises, if found in violation of the said notification till further orders of the Court.
The petition also sought the direction of forming a monitoring committee, comprising of State Nodal Officer of State Tobacco Control Cell & other commissioners/chief inspectors or any other officers as the court may deem fit, under the supervision of the court, for monitoring the effective compliance of COTPA or other related laws while issuing licenses to Hookah Bars in South Delhi & to inspect & seal or take appropriate actions as per the law against such Hookah Bars if found in contravention of any smoking, license, & other related laws.
It mentioned that these illegal ‘hookah bars’, are blatantly selling/serving liquor to adults as well as persons who are underage, according to law without having the requisite liquor license.
Such activities are causing loss to the state exchequer & burning a hole in the Govt’s pocket as the said activities amount to tax evasion, it added.