ADVERTISEMENT
Go back to
Home » My Kolkata » News » Hookah bars in Kolkata and Bidhannagar can’t be shut down, says Calcutta High Court

Legal

Hookah bars in Kolkata and Bidhannagar can’t be shut down, says Calcutta High Court

Closure untenable minus state law backing ban

Our Bureau | Published 25.01.23, 06:48 AM
BlackBrick Cafe, on Chowringhee Road, was among the several establishments that took hookah off the menu after mayor Firhad Hakim had announced in December that hookah bars would not be allowed in the city

BlackBrick Cafe, on Chowringhee Road, was among the several establishments that took hookah off the menu after mayor Firhad Hakim had announced in December that hookah bars would not be allowed in the city

The high court on Tuesday said hookah parlours cannot be forced shut until the state enacts a law banning them.

The National Restaurant Association had moved the high court challenging the move by police in Kolkata and Bidhannagar to shut down hookah bars.

ADVERTISEMENT

Justice Rajasekhar Mantha had asked the Kolkata and Bidhannagar police commissioners to file affidavits declaring on what basis the hookah parlours had been shut down.

After going through the reports from the two police commissioners, Justice Mantha on Tuesday said the police can shut down hookah bars only after the state enacts a law to that effect. The association’s contention was that the police’s decision (to close hookah parlours) was contrary to provisions in the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act.

Appearing on behalf of the association, advocate Jaydeep Kar had submitted: “Since the Tobacco Act is a central act and the subject is not on the concurrent list, the Kolkata or Bidhannagar police have no right to take the decision to close down hookah bars.”

According to the reports submitted by Kolkata and Bidhannagar police, 27 complaints had been received till Tuesday from the "general public", based on which 15 cases had been initiated against hookah bars under the Tobacco Act.

The Kolkata and the Bidhannagar commissionerates had launched a crackdown on hookah bars and arrested several persons under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act on the charge of running  hookah bars illegally.

Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim had in December announced that the licence of all hookah bars in the city would be cancelled and no new licence would be issued to run such a bar.

The KMC also published a notification in some newspapers declaring that all licences issued to hookah bars stood cancelled. Soon after, the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation issued prohibitory orders for hookah bars in its area.

Following the decisions of the two civic bodies, Kolkata and Bidhannagar police started conducting raids on hookah bars in their respective areas. 

However, after the court's observation on Tuesday, neither the civic body nor the police could elaborate on the fate of the hookah parlours that have been sealed or whose licences have been cancelled.

A KMC official said the mayoral council of the KMC had passed a proposal to not issue any hookah bar licence and cancel all licences issued so far. 

Hours after Tuesday's court order was issued, a senior IPS officer at Lalbazar said Calcutta police had yet to get the court order. "We will follow the order," the officer said.

A senior officer in the Bidhannagar commissionerate echoed him. "We will be able to tell you about the fate of the cases (under the tobacco act) after we get clarity through the court order," he said.

Last updated on 25.01.23, 06:48 AM
Share:
ADVERTISEMENT

More from My Kolkata