The Maharashtra government today informed the Bombay High Court that all municipal corporations in the state have been asked to incorporate the provisions of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition) Act (COTPA) in the license agreements of restaurants and eating joints, which means a complete ban on sale of hookah and other tobacco products at these places.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi was hearing a public interest litigation filed by NGO Crusade Against Tobacco alleging that minors are allowed to purchase hookahs in hookah parlors and also in the eating joints serving hookahs.
The municipal corporation of Mumbai, based on an earlier order from the high court, had included the sections of COTPA in the license agreements of restaurants by which the eating joints would be prohibited from selling tobacco products, including cigarettes and hookah.
Government pleader KR Belosay today told the court that a circular has been issued to all the other municipal councils and districts asking them to do the same.
"It is a serious issue involving the health of youngsters. Police have also conducted raids at over 70 eating joints which serve tobacco products to youths," Belosay said.
The court also directed the Central government to take necessary steps and try setting up the National Tobacco Regulatory Authority by December 31 this year. The authority will enable state governments to effectively implement anti-tobacco laws.
BMC counsel Geeta Joglekar informed the court that the civic body initiates criminal action against the owner of any eating joint that violates the rules and terms and conditions of the license agreement.
Disposing of the PIL, the court directed the magistrates to decide the cases within two months after they are filed.