New Delhi [India], November 16 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted interim relief to petitioners, operating bars and restaurants in the national capital and allowed them to sell and serve herbal flavoured hookahs subject to an undertaking that they will follow COVID-19 guidelines.
Justice Rekha Palli made it clear that bars and restaurants would give an undertaking that they will serve only herbal hookah following strict COVID-19 protocols.
The Court gave interim order on various petitions filed by bars and restaurants seeking permission to sell and serve herbal flavoured hookahs.
The court has listed the matter for February next year for further hearing.
Delhi government has earlier opposed the plea filed by various bars and restaurants seeking permission to sell and serve herbal flavoured hookahs.
Justifying its decision, the Delhi government said that it would like to continue the prohibition on the use of Hookah (with and without tobacco i.e. herbal hookah, water pipes and other hookah like devices) in all public places including hotels, restaurants, eatery houses, bars, pubs; discotheques etc. of the NCT of Delhi for the purpose of prevention and control of the outbreak of epidemic disease COVID-19 in the national capital.
The submission of the Delhi government had come on an affidavit filed through its standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi.
Delhi government had earlier told the court that the authorities concerned, on October 14, decided to continue the ban on the use of hookah till further orders.
Several bars, restaurants, eating have recently approached the Delhi High Court requesting the court to issue direction to the Delhi government and Delhi police not to interfere with the sale /service of herbal flavour hookahs and not to take coercive/ adverse steps.
Advocate Nandini Sahni appearing for the petitioners contended that individual hookah will be provided to the customers and will not be shared with other customers at any cost, in the restaurants and eatery houses run by them.
The petitioners also seek court direction to restrain respondents not to cause any obstruction or interference in the smooth running of eating house/ restaurant/bar of petitioner and allow service of herbal hookah in the restaurant /bar of the petitioner.
The plea further stated that the petitioners have suffered acute financial loss due to the closure of their business during lockdown for almost 14-15 months and now that petitioner has started their business recently and Delhi Police interfering illegally in the running of the business, as a result thereof it has let to decline in footfall. The festive season is approaching fast and the petitioner company wants to run their business smoothly and earn some money so that they can pay off their previous loans /debts/ arrears of rentals etc, it added. (ANI)