K'taka HC upholds ban on all types of hookah products

08:23 AM Apr 23, 2024 | PTI |

Bengaluru: In a significant ruling, the Karnataka High Court has upheld the state government’s notification banning the sale, consumption, storage, advertisement and promotion of all types of hookah products within the state.


The decision came following the rejection of a batch of petitions challenging the government’s ban, which was deemed necessary due to concerns over fire hazards, public health, and safety.

A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna, after hearing arguments from both sides, had reserved judgment on March 11.

According to the government notification, hookah bars have been identified as potential causes of fire hazards and violations of state fire control and safety laws.

Additionally, the consumption of hookah in establishments such as hotels, bars, and restaurants poses risks to food safety and public health, further justifying the ban.


Advocate General K Shashi Kiran Shetty emphasized the ban was issued in the public interest and is supported by relevant legislation, including the Cigarette and Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003, Child Care and Protection Act 2015, Food Safety and Quality Act 2006, Karnataka Poisons (Possession and Sale) Rules 2015, Indian Penal Code, and Fire Control and Fire Protection Act.

K Shashi Kiran Shetty argued that the absence of designated areas for serving hookah in establishments raises concerns, as full-service Hookah bars operate without proper regulation.

He contended that designated areas should only be allocated for dining purposes, not for smoking activities.

However, the petitioners contended the COTPA Act allows for designated smoking areas and does not support a blanket ban on hookah products.

They argued that as long as regulations are followed, hookah consumption can be done safely without posing a threat to public health.

One petitioner raised the issue of herbal hookah, citing Section 3(b) of the COTPA Act, which defines cigarettes as containing tobacco.

The petitioner questioned the justification for banning herbal hookah products that do not contain tobacco or nicotine, arguing against a blanket prohibition.

Furthermore, concerns were raised regarding the constitutional implications of the ban.

The petitioners argued that it infringes upon Article 14, which guarantees equality before the law, as well as Article 19(1)(g), which protects the right to carry out business activities.

Despite these arguments, the High Court maintained the ban on hookah products, ruling against the petitions challenging its validity.


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