BENGALURU:The High Court on Thursday said there was no need to obtain a separate licence to serve hookahs in the smoking zones of restaurants, which have obtained a trade licence from the local authorities.
Justice A S Bopanna clarified this while allowing a writ petition filed by Diamond Enterprises, a restaurant registered under the name ‘Brews N Bytes’, located at Corporation Layout in Jayanagar 4th ‘T’ Block.
Diamond Enterprises informed the court that it has obtained a trade licence from Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for the restaurant. Apart from serving coffee and other snacks, it also serves hookahs in the smoking area as Diamond Enterprises has divided the 2,400-sq-ft area into non-smoking and smoking areas.
It contended further that there was no prohibition under any law on serving hookah if the provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act 2003 are followed.
However, police were insisting that a separate licence be obtained from the BBMP. When Diamond Enterprises approached the BBMP, the civic body informed it that no separate licence was required. The restaurant said the jurisdictional police were interfering illegally in its business, and so it approached the High Court for relief.
Diamond Enterprises had made the Secretary, Home Department, Commissioner of Police, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mico Layout Sub Division, station house officer, Tilak Nagar Police Station, and BBMP as respondents.
The petitioner requested the court to issue directions to the respondents not to interfere in its business, and not to insist upon a separate licence to serve hookahs.
Auction of HMT Property Stayed
The High Court on Thursday stayed the August 13 notice issued by the Bengaluru North tahsildar to auction the property of HMT at Myakalachennanahalli in the city.
Hearing the petition filed by HMT, Justice A N Venugopala Gowda imposed a condition that HMT should deposit 50 per cent of the total interest of Rs 38.18 lakh to be paid to the employees for delay in paying gratuity.
The tahsildar issued the notice to HMT to auction its 5.9 acres at Myakalachennanahalli in compliance with the directions of the deputy commissioner following the order of the Gratuity Controlling Authority.
The employees of HMT approached the Gratuity Controlling Authority against the company for not paying interest for delay in payment of gratuity.
HMT contended that it was declared sick in 2006 and some of the employees retired from service and sought gratuity.
Since the company does not possess adequate amount, they are unable to make the payment. Hence, the auction notice should be quashed, HMT said in the petition.
Petition on TDR for Buildings Dismissed
The High Court on Thursday dismissed public interest litigation challenging the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) decision to extend Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) to buildings.
While dismissing the PIL filed by G Yerri Swamy, a resident of the city, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice B V Nagarathna observed that the matter being challenged was a policy decision with regard to acquisition of lands for public purpose.
Public purposes include widening of an existing road or formation of a new one, providing for parks, playgrounds and open spaces or any other civic amenities, maintaining or improving heritage buildings or precincts notified by the state government.
The petitioner’s counsel contended that extending TDR to buildings would encourage people to construct buildings on already acquired lands so as to get more compensation in the form of TDR which is transferable and can be bought by any interested party.
On May 21, 2010, the commissioner of BBMP issued an order extending the TDR to buildings in addition to site/lands.