The Allahabad High Court has asked authorities in Uttar Pradesh to deal with applications seeking grant or renewal of licence to run hookah bars preferably within a period of one month from the date of filing.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, running of such bars was banned in Uttar Pradesh and all such bars being run in different districts of the State were discontinued.
A bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker and Justice Saumitra Dayal observed, “COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have been largely relaxed and therefore the interveners may be allowed to recommence their business. They have relied on the facts and circumstances of similar businesses being allowed to run in different states of the country.”
Additional Advocate General Manish Goel submitted that the interveners have yet not applied to the statutory authority under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
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In case they apply, their request will be considered strictly in accordance with law as expeditiously as possible.
“In view of the fact that undisputedly the business of running of hookah bars is regulated under the aforesaid Act, it is left open to the individual interveners to apply to the statutory authority for grant/renewal of licence to run their respective hookah bars,” the court said in its order.
“If such applications are made by the present individual interveners or other similarly situated persons, the same may be dealt with strictly in accordance with law as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of one month from the date of filing of such application,” the court added.