THE CALCUTTA High Court on Tuesday scrapped the orders of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation (BMC) that had imposed a ban on hookah bars in Kolkata and Bidhannagar.
A single-judge bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha observed that since there is no state-specific rule in the matter, it would not be illegal to run hookah bars in these two cities.
Justice Mantha also observed that if the state government wants to shut down hookah bars, then it will have to pass a new law and till that time there should be no police action against the existing hookah bars. However, Justice Mantha said that if some hookah bar owners use narcotics elements, it is up to the police to investigate. At the same time, he said there was no harm if herbal products are used in hookah bars.
On December 2, the Kolkata Mayor and state Urban Development and Municipal Affair minister, Firhad Hakim announced a ban on running of hookah bars in Kolkata.
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He had then said that the decision was taken after receiving information that certain chemicals, which are harmful for health, were being used by certain owners of hookah bars. He also claimed that there was a high possibility of running the business of banned narcotics under the garb of hookah bars.
Soon after this, the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation also ordered a ban on hookah bars in areas under its jurisdiction.