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News

BMC can’t ban sale of herbal hookah in restaurants: Bombay HC

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MUMBAI: In a relief for eateries keen to serve herbal hookah, the Bombay high court on Monday directed that the BMC cannot prohibit the sale of herbal hookah in a popular restaurant chain after perusing forensic reports which said it doesn’t contain nicotine.
A bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre passed the order that comes as a huge relief to Ali Reza Abdi, who had petitioned the HC to get the civic administration to grant him permission to sell herbal hookah at the open-air restaurants Sheesha and Sheesha Sky Lounge. The bench said as long as “there is no violation of the law governing sale of tobacco and products containing nicotine or any other law”, neither the BMC nor the state can prohibit the sale of herbal hookah.

Abdi’s lawyers, Sujay Kantawalla, Sajal Yadav and Karan Vyas, argued that herbal hookah contains neither tobacco nor nicotine and hence, he cannot be prohibited from running a hookah bar under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) amendment 2018. Senior counsel S U Kamdar, public prosecutor Deepak Thakare and BMC counsel Ganesh Gole raised concerns, but the HC said the BMC or police can conduct inquiries and take action in case nicotine is found, but till then the right to serve non-tobacco products cannot be curtailed in the restaurants.

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