LAHORE – Lahore High Court Chief (LHC) Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday refused to issue orders to ban sheesha smoking at different cafes of the provincial capital; and directed the Punjab home secretary and district coordination officer to ensure enforcement of the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non Smokers Health Ordinance 2002.

Previously, the court had directed the counsels of petitioner and respondents to come up with arguments on a point whether law pertaining to prohibition of smoking on public places was applicable to cafes and restaurants providing sheesha facilities.

As the chief justice took up matter again on Wednesday, Advocate Abdullah, counsel for petitioner Society of Alternative Media and Research, contended that the law pertaining to prohibition of smoking on public places was also applicable to cafes and restaurants providing sheesha cafes. The counsel of the City District Government Lahore (CDGL) endorsed the argument and said smoking and related activities should ban at the cafes and restaurants.

The counsel for sheesha cafes opposed the contentions of petitioner and said they had designated places for smoking in their restaurants. “When we use term ‘restaurant’ that means the whole area comprising the restaurant and no specific place should be designated for smoking in the restaurants according to the ordinance,” Abduallah rejected the argument of defence counsel.

The petitioner had sought the directions to ban sheesha facilities at the cafes, the chief justice said if the sheesha came under smoking and that was already ban and no need to issue separate direction in this regard. However, the judge directed the Punjab home secretary and the DCO to ensure enforcement of the ordinance in the province and City, respectively. The chief justice disposed of the petitions for banning sheesha and another petition of sheesha cafe owners challenging the action of the government against their business.

LAST CHANCE: LHC Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday gave last chance to the CDGL to pay Rs16.181 million to the Punjab University that had sanctioned more than Rs30 million for laptop distribution ceremony chaired by PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif.

Petitioner Nazir Ahmad through his counsel had challenged the expenditure paid by the Punjab University for the above said ceremony.

The court was informed on Wednesday that the CDGL had not yet paid the said amount despite many court orders. The counsel argued that the bureaucracy was using delaying tactics in this regard.

“The use of educational budget on administrative work will not be allowed at any cost,” the chief justice observed and adjourned the hearing until July 25.

The petitioner had submitted that Punjab University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran sanctioned a supplementary grant of Rs30 million on account of arranging a laptop distribution ceremony without permission of Punjab University syndicate. The vice chancellor arranged the function to oblige Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sharif by inviting them as chief guests, the petitioner submitted.