The Supreme Court removed the restriction imposed on hookah and hence it is again going to be used among the urban people. The Court was of the view that smoking as defined under the Cigarettes Act consisted of smoking tobacco that is in any manner by using wrapper, other tools or pipe inclusive of hookah. The Court also interpreted the terms ‘no other service shall be allowed’ pointed to services excluding hookah. Hence, the Court hit down the prohibition on sale and employing of hookah in restaurants and hotels, airports etc where there is legal sanction for smoking. The verdicts of three High Courts that were pronounced before three years were set aside by the Apex Court.
The High Courts of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu had upheld the ban imposed by the state authorities as well as the police. The bench consisted of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Nariman who granted the appeals brought before it from the decisions of the High Courts. The High Courts of Gujarat and Madras stick on to the decision of the Bombay High Court where the challenge on the BMC circular was rejected. The circular prohibited the storing and trade of tobacco and cigarettes in restaurants etc and also outlawed using of hookah. The BMC also ruled out the use of some premises that were created that enabled smoking.
According to the present legal position, smoking in public places is prohibited all over India except the rooms that are specially kept as smoking room in airports as well as restaurants. The Court was of the opinion that as per law, these products can be sold to adult persons outside 100 yards from schools and colleges. Other exceptions cannot be accepted and will be impermissible, the court said. The appeal was filed by Narinder Chadha against the verdict of High Court of Bombay. The Counsel appearing for the appellant argued that the circular issued by BMC was unlawful that regulated the storing and trade of tobacco in the areas permitted for such sale. The Court accepted the view and allowed the appeal.