Restaurants and bars in the city, which permit hookah
smoking, have told the National
Green Tribunal that they do not support the use of tobacco
of any kind within their premises.
The restaurants and bars, in pursuance to the notices issued to them, informed a bench headed by NGT
Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar that they were not using any tobacco
material in hookah.
The green panel took exception over non-appearance of 13 restaurants and bars in the city despite notices being served to them.
"We issue bailable warrants against the proprietors/partners of the respondents (who failed to appear) for their production on the next date of hearing," the bench said.
The tribunal asked the authorities to strictly regulate these restaurants and bars and warned that it would order their closure in case of any environmental pollution.
The matter will now be taken up on December 12.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Manjinder Singh Sirsa, a BJP MLA
from Rajouri Garden, seeking an immediate ban on hookah
bars in the national
had on October 9 issued notices and sought replies of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the city government, the Delhi
Pollution Control Committee and various hookah
Sirsa had contended that the ambient air quality standards in public places such as restaurants and bars were dangerously higher than the prescribed norms.
Referring to the Prohibition of Smoking
in Public Places Rules, 2008, the plea said these rules were being openly flouted by various restaurants and hookah
bars in Delhi
wherein hookah, with tobacco
products, was being permitted to be smoked in open spaces without designation of any part of the premises as a smoking
"We direct the MoEF to issue directions under Section 5 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 against such persons or entities who have been polluting the indoor ambient air in restaurants and bars and such other public places in Delhi
by selling hookah
or permitting hookah smoking
in its premises," the plea had said.
Sirsa had earlier alleged that hookah
bars were "ruining" the youth of Delhi
by turning them into "drug addicts".
"Despite the launch of a campaign in the country to contain the use of tobacco
and ban hookah
bars, most hookah
bars in Delhi
are running on restaurant licences illegally and selling products that are harmful to the youth," he had earlier said.