Calcutta High Court

Calcutta High Court | While dealing with a case regarding violation of S. 20(2) of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTP Act), Rajasekhar Mantha*, J. held that in absence of any rules made by the State Government, the municipal authorities cannot ban the use of hookahs in the licensed bars and restaurants.

The petitioner contended that they strictly comply with the rules and regulations as provided in COTP Act and other applicable statues and rules and only use tobacco, nicotine and herbal products in the hookahs as the same is not banned under the applicable statute.

The Court observed that both the State and Central Government earn huge revenues from sale of tobacco products that are lawfully sold in the country, Moreover, the State Government has not framed any rules banning the use of tobacco, nicotine and herbal products in bars and restaurants.

The Court opined that in absence of any rules under the COTP Act neither the Kolkata Municipal Corporation nor the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation can pass orders against use of Hookahs in the bars and restaurants having a valid license. Moreover, the above-mentioned authorities cannot issue any direction regarding separate trade license for promoting the use of hookahs for a restaurant or bar though they can take adequate steps if the bars and restaurants violate any existing state laws which guide them.

The Court quashed the directions issued by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation until an Act is enacted in this regard.

[National Restaurant Assn. of India v. State of W.B., 2023 SCC OnLine Cal 174, decided on 24-01-2023]

*Judgment by Justice Rajasekhar Mantha.

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Jaydip Kar, Mr. Jishnu Saha, Mr. Krishnendu Sarkar and Ms. Meghla Das, Counsel for the Petitioners;

Mr. Rajdip Roy, Mr. Anindyasundar Chatterjee and Mr. Goutam Dinda, Counsel for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

*Ritu Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

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