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Karnataka HC Upholds Ban on Hookah and Hookah Bars Despite Petition Challenges

Karnataka HC Upholds Ban on Hookah and Hookah Bars Despite Petition Challenges

On Monday, the Karnataka High Court rejected several petitions that contested the prohibition of hookah and hookah bars within the state of Karnataka.

Justice M Nagaprasanna delivered the verdict this afternoon.

Throughout the hearings, the Court noted that the central issue at hand was whether the State possessed the authority to impose a comprehensive ban on hookah.

Representing a petitioner, Senior Advocate K Suman emphasized that the State lacked the authority to enact such a ban, especially considering the existence of the Central government legislation, namely the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA), which already regulated the field.

Suman argued that according to COTPA, smoking was allowed only in designated areas where food was not served. However, Advocate General Shashi Kiran Shetty, representing the State government, countered this stance by stating that COTPA specifically addressed cigarettes and not hookah.

He contended that the State possessed the authority to enforce a ban in the interest of public health. Pointing out that public health falls under Entry 6, List II of Schedule VII of the Constitution of India, he emphasized that the State had the jurisdiction to legislate on such matters.

He further added that according to Article 47 of the Constitution, the State government was also duty-bound to undertake measures aimed at promoting public health.

Meanwhile, Senior Advocate Kiran Javali argued that the State government's ban cannot be applied to ban herbal hookahs that do not use any tobacco extract.

Advocates Jayasimha KS, Mahesh Chowdhary and Mahesh S were also among the counsel who made submissions for the petitioners challenging the hookah ban.

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