Allahabad High Court asks hookah bar owners to move statutory authority for reopening
The Allahabad High Court has directed that instructions be passed in one month on the application for grant of license to reopen hookah bars in Uttar Pradesh.
The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Pritinkar Diwakar and Justice SD Singh passed this order while hearing a suo motu PIL.
In the matter, during the spread of Covid-19 Pandemic vide communication dated 5.9.2020 issued by Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh, running of hookah bars was banned. Consequently, all hookah bars established and run in different districts of the State were discontinued.
It has been urged by the counsel appearing for the interveners that the Covid-19 Pandemic restrictions have been largely relaxed and, therefore, the interveners may be allowed to recommence their business.
They relied on the facts and circumstances of similar business being allowed to run in different states.
On the other hand, the Additional Advocate General submitted that the interveners have yet not applied to the statutory authority under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
In case they apply, their request will be considered strictly in accordance with law as expeditiously as possible.
‘Without going into the merits of the controversy, in view of the fact that undisputedly the business of running of ‘Hookah Bars’ is regulated under the aforesaid Act, it is left open to the individual interveners to apply to the statutory authority in accordance with law for grant/renewal of licence to run their respective ‘Hookah Bar’.
If such application/s is/are made by the individual intervener/s or other similarly situated persons, the same may be dealt with strictly in accordance with law as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of one month from the date of filing of such application,’ the Court said.
With the above observations, the Court disposed of the petition.