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Hookah/ Sheesha Bars illegal – High Court

Putting an end to the abuse of Nicotine, thriving across Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh in the name of serving Hookah/ Sheesha/ Water-Pipe, the Punjab and Haryana High court has ordered closure of all such outlets besides creation of a task force to check the menace in future too.

Acting on a “Public Interest Litigation (PIL)” by the NGO Burning Brain Society and its chairman Hemant Goswami, the Divisional Bench of Chief Justice A. K. Sikri and Justice R. K. Jain disposed off the Writ Petition with the directions to States of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to constitute a permanent task force for monitoring the abuse of Nicotine in chemical form which is being used by Hookah Bars and others. The court also directed to register criminal cases against the violators and take all appropriate steps as required in accordance with the law.

Hemant Goswami, chairman of Burning Brain Society, who appeared and argued the case in person pleaded that various outlets in Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana were serving Hookah/ Sheesha to youngsters which contained Nicotine which was not only noxious/ hazardous but also fatal. Goswami pointed out that just 30 milligram of Nicotine was sufficient to cause death of a healthy human being in under one minute which is why it was a deadly poison fit to be regulated under the Poisons Act. The Insecticide Act categorised Nicotine as an insecticide and the Hazardous Chemical Rules 1986 also label Nicotine as a hazardous and toxic chemical.

During the course of hearing, over the years, the High court had passed many enabling orders and even constituted a task force, resulting in closure of all Hookah/ Sheesha outlets across Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana. Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh also registered many criminal cases against outlets and people trading in Hookah/ Sheesh and the ingredient used in Hookah.

The High Court order, which was reserved for November 5, 2012 and has been made available today holds that, “there is no doubt that many Hukkah bars are serving tobacco molasses containing Nicotine, which is clearly illegal and entails penal consequences.”

Expressing satisfaction, Hemant told, “The case against the mushrooming of Hookah/ Sheesha outlets was filed in the year 2007 and it took five years and nearly 45 hearings to finally put a permanent end to the menace of Nicotine, Hookah and Sheesha outlets in the region.”