Mumbai High Court dismisses restaurant’s plea to serve herbal hookah

Mumbai, 2nd May 2023: In a recent ruling, the Bombay High Court has made it clear that serving hookah or herbal hookah in restaurants holding a food license is strictly prohibited. In a decision that reinforces the need to maintain a safe and healthy environment in restaurants, the court has refused to provide any relief to a Chembur restaurant serving herbal hookah.

As per the court’s ruling, restaurants are frequented by children, women, and the elderly, who visit for refreshments and meals. Thus, hookah services cannot be provided in such places, as they can cause a nuisance and affect the safety and health of the customers.

Justice Girish Kulkarni and Justice R. N. Ladha’s bench opined that serving hookah while offering food or snacks would be arbitrary and unacceptable.

The court also expressed concern that allowing every restaurant in Mumbai to offer hookah services would lead to an unimaginable situation. The court further commented that such services would have no impact on customers coming for refreshments or meals.

The restaurant, ‘The Orange Mint,’ which had a restaurant license, was serving hookah, leading to the municipal corporation issuing a notice to cancel its license if the practice continued. The owner, Saili Parikh, challenged the notice in the Bombay High Court, which found the municipality’s notice correct and refused to stay the notice.

The municipal corporation’s argument was that restaurants that serve herbal hookah use fire or burnt charcoal, which can be a threat to public safety and the lives of customers visiting the restaurant. The court’s decision is not just about hookah parlours but also about the license granted to restaurants for refreshments and food, which does not include the provision of hookah service.


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