Following multiple FIRs for serving hookah, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission penalised Bargain Booze, a unit of GBS Hospitality Private Limited in Sector 26.
The commission ordered Bargain Booze to pay Sanjay Jangra, 37, of Dashmesh Nagar, Zirakpur, 7,000 in compensation for causing mental harassment, as well as 5,000 in litigation costs.
After hearing the complaint, the commission prohibited/restricted the restaurant from selling cigarettes/hookahs in violation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act of 2003, ‘except the trade duly licenced and registered after meeting the requirements of the aforesaid act.’
Notably, the city has a ban on serving hookah, and multiple FIRs have already been registered against Bargain Booze for violations in 2020 and 2021 under section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code.
‘Nicotine-based hookahs were served.’ Jangra had petitioned the Consumer Commission for an order prohibiting opposing parties from selling nicotine-based hookahs to their customers in violation of the 2003 Act, in addition to a refund for serving him nicotine-based hookah.
The complainant stated that he and his friends went to Bargain Booze on the evening of October 21, 2019, and noticed hookahs containing nicotine being offered to guests entering the restaurant disguised as flavoured hookahs. He added that the hookahs were being used by guests in the common area because there was no designated smoking area.
Jangra provided a copy of the bill/invoice dated October 21, 2019, which included a 700 fee for flavoured mocktail night. He also provided photographs of guests, including those under the age of 18, using hookahs inside the restaurant.