Calcutta High Court dismisses order to ban Hookah bars in Kolkata and Bidhannagar. Justice Rajasekhar Mantha passed the order. The National Restaurant Association moved Calcutta High Court on Thursday, challenging the validity of the decision of the Kolkata and Bidhannagar police to close down hookah bars.
The association’s contention is that the police’s decision contradicts Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act provisions. Appearing on behalf of the association, advocate Jaydeep Kar submitted in the court of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha: “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.”
Both Kolkata police and Bidhannagar police have 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.
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. Hakim had said the move to ban hookah bars was prompted by multiple complaints of drug abuse in those establishments.