New Delhi, India – Vape Expo India which is supposed to be held at Indian Exposition Mart on September 9-10, is officially cancelled.
This first ever vape expo to be held in India cannot reach a consensus with the local authority to proceed with the expo. Initially, Delhi local authority did not allow the organizer to conduct the expo within the capital city. 7 days prior to the actual date of the expo, there was rumours that the expo would to be cancelled. Correspondence with the organizer side indicated that they would work out something by Monday (6 days before the expo) through their lawyers and legal channel. However, the moment of truth came Wednesday (4 days before the expo), when the organizer announced in their Facebook page, stating that Vape Expo India was officially cancelled and could not proceed.
However, a lot of exhibitors have already purchased tickets and accommodation for this trip. It is estimated that they are 200 exhibitors from all over the world. In fact, when the organizer made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon, some were already in the plane, on the way to India. Vape Expo India Facebook page was filled with comments from the exhibitors and public demanding to know what was going on.
Latest update includes the exhibitors from overseas are trying to get the Indian retailers and wholesalers to contact them in their hotel, since they are already there and trying to showcase their products (business-to-business). It seems that connection between exhibitors and Indian retailers/wholesalers is bridged outside the halls of the expo. Vape News Malaysia correspondence, KJ Wong, will be flying there to provide coverage on this.
Sources said the organizers will move this issue to the Delhi high court but the damages are already done with the official cancellation statement coming out 4 days before the actual expo date.
The organizer had posted the following statement in their Facebook Page Vape Expo India September 8th (1 day before the expo)
As you are now aware, the Vape Expo India 2017 has been called off due to unavoidable and uncontrollable intervening circumstances. You must all have questions about what happened and we hope that the narration below helps you understand.
Pursuant to the advise received by our local consultants, Orbis Connexions, we had applied to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Home Affairs in India, as far back as on March 27, 2017, for permission to conduct the Vape Expo in Noida, India.
We got an approval for conducting the event from The Ministry of External Affairs on June 27, 2017. The Ministry of Home Affairs had also not expressed any reservation with the conduct of the event.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had also not expressed any reservation with the conduct of the event until August 31, 2017.
For the first time on 2.9.2017, we were informed of two letters dates 31.8.2017 and 1.9.2017 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare denying us permission for the conduct the India Vape Expo without providing any reasons whatsoever.
On being made aware of this rejection letter on September 2, 2017, we immediately travelled to India on September 3, 2017. We landed in New Delhi, India on September 4, 2017 and immediately contacted lawyers in India.
We were advised by our lawyers that the denial of permission was illegal and without any basis. Thus, we were advised to immediately file a Writ Petition in the Delhi High Court to quash / set aside the rejection letter, so that the Expo could continue.
We accordingly instructed our lawyers to file the Writ Petition in the Delhi High Court and the same was prepared overnight and filed on September 6, 2017.
On the same day, our lawyers requested for an urgent hearing of the matter before the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court. The matter was directed to be heard on the same day. Such a hearing is only permitted where the Court appreciates the grave urgency in the matter.
The matter came up for hearing at 4.15 pm on September 6, 2017. Our lawyers vehemently argued before the Single Judge of the Delhi High Court that there was no merit whatsoever or legal basis for the rejection letter issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The lawyers for the Indian Government were also present. Upon failing to satisfy the Learned Single Judge about the law under which the permission was denied, upon their request, the Court granted a day’s time, i.e., September 7, 2017, to inform the Court of the legal basis for the issuance of the rejection letter. However, during the course of the hearing, the lawyers for the Indian Government stated that there was another, subsequent ban on the Vape Expo India issued by the State Government of Uttar Pradesh.
This meant that while the legality of the rejection of the permission issued by the Indian Government, i.e. issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, was doubted by the Court, the fresh ban on the Vape Expo India issued by the State Government of Uttar Pradesh made it impossible to continue with the Expo.
While our lawyers were confident that they would succeed in challenging the ban in the Allahabad High Court, Uttar Pradesh, being the Court which could revoke the fresh ban, we simply did not have the time to engage in a fresh battle against the new and sudden ban.
Today, we succeeded in the Hon’ble Delhi High Court. Our lawyers managed to have the rejection letter issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare set aside. However, having been visited by a ban at the last stage by the State Government and due to reasons beyond our control, it was impossible to go ahead with the Vape Expo India. We strived our best and took recourse to all resources at our disposal to conduct the Expo.
We are happy to address your queries and you may also feel free to contact our lawyers in India for any further information on this matter. We will send a copy of the order of the Delhi High Court once it is made available.
All exhibitors will be contacted directly for other steps!!!