Action against Sheesha cafes legal: LHC
LAHORE, Dec 10: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Monday declared that action being taken by the city district government against Sheesha cafes was legal and within the ambit of Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance 2002.
The chief justice observed that the use of Sheesha fell within the definition of smoking and the government was bound to implement the relevant law at public places.
The CJ further observed it was true that smoking was hazardous to health but law did not ban it completely and in some countries of the world there would be a law giving protection to smoking.
With this observation the chief Justice disposed of several petitions challenging the government’s action. The CJ remarked that the petitioners could challenge the relevant provision of the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance, which authorised the government to take action against restaurants/cafes serving Sheesha to its customers.
In this case, the government had taken a plea that restaurants, public offices and hotel lounges fell within the ambit of public places, therefore, could not be allowed for Sheesha smoking.
On the other side, owners of Sheesha cafes insisted that un-constructed area of a restaurant/hotel was called “open space” and Sheesha could be offered at that place.
They also challenged government’s crackdown on the cafes and submitted that the use of Sheesha was neither harmful for health nor it was a prohibited product. They said the cafes had designated places for Sheesha smoking which did not fall in the category of public place.
The petitioners requested that the government should be restrained from taking coercive measures against the cafes following a ban on the use of Sheesha.