LAHORE - Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Monday asked the counsels to come up with clear definitions of ‘public place’, ‘open place’ and ‘open space’.

The court was hearing several petitions against ban on the use of ‘Sheesha’ by the City District Government Lahore (CDGL).

When the court resumed hearing, a CDGL’s counsel relied upon Section 2 (c) of the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance 2002 and said place of public work or use included auditoriums, buildings, health institutions, amusement centres, restaurants, public offices, court buildings, cinema halls, conference of seminar halls, eating houses, hotel lounges, other waiting lounges libraries, bus stations or stands, sports stadiums, educational institutions, libraries and the like which were visited by general public but did not include any open place.

He said any restaurant, public office, hotel lounges were places of public work or use holistically and any portion thereof whether open or closed could not be excluded by taking refuge into the expression of ‘open place’.

The counsel pointed out that the government had already declared any ‘open space’ attached, appurtenant or within the premises of place of public work or use mention in the section 2 (c) of the Ordinance as a no-tobacco use and no smoking place.  On the other side, petitioner’s counsel insisted that un-constructed area of a restaurant/hotel was called ‘open space’ and Sheesha could be offered at that place.

Chief Justice adjourned further hearing intil Dec 10 and directed the counsels to come up with arguments and clear definitions of the open place, open space and public place.

Challenging the government’s crackdown on the Sheesha cafes, the petitioners had submitted that the use of Sheesha was not harmful for health nor it was 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 steps against the cafes following a ban on the use of Sheesha.

Also, the LHC made a section officer of Faisalabad district government to stand in the courtroom for hours for concealing facts about appointment process of naib qasid’s post.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah let the officer Muzafarul Haq go with a warning and directed him to appear on next hearing along with complete record of the case.

Muhammad Irfan had filed a petition and contended that he had applied for the post of naib qasid and sole name was appeared in the merit list. However, he said, the government ignored him and appointed another person who never applied for the post.

The section officer on previous hearing had stated before the court that the name of the appointed person was also appeared in the merit list.

The judge adjourned the further hearing until December 6.