Owners of pubs and bars here are wary that strict implementation of a Supreme Court order by the city police on playing music and other norms needed to obtain a licence may lead to closure of many establishments.
A January top court order has been put into action by the police here as it was issuing notices to pubs and restaurants that are not following the “Licensing and Controlling of Places of Public Entertainment Order, 2005.”
As per law, a ‘licence’ is a must and in order for one to play music live or recorded music in places of public entertainment.
Also, the law specifies that to get a licence, the pub owner needs to submit a total of seven documents, which includes an occupancy certificate (OC); an approved building plan from the city authority; a partnership deed; a lease or title deed and a fire safety compliance certificate.
Pub owners failing to produce these documents within the given time frame face action.
The then Bengaluru police commissioner had issued a notice in 2005 asking pubs, hotels and restaurants to get licence to play recorded or live music as playing loud music was causing nuisance.
Pubs and restaurant owners challenged the order in the top court, which recently passed an order in favour of the police.
Now, the city police has asked pubs and restaurant owners to get permission by submitting all the documents.
Restaurateur Manu Chandra told PTI that according to the directive anybody playing music, irrespective of whether it is loud or soft, would have to seek licence from the police.
“To get a licence, one will need to furnish documents including the sanctioned building plan, occupancy certificate issued by the municipal corporation and no-objection certificate from the fire and emergency services departments. Who will have this?” Mr Chandra asked.
He further said passing such a law would have serious effect on the excise revenues too.
“You can’t keep passing so many laws. What’s going to happen to the excise revenues? I want to know who is going to pay off the farm loan waiver. On the one side you are promising Rs 25,000 crore farm loan waiver and on the other you have pressure on excise department to generate Rs 18,000 crore revenue,” he said.
Mr Chandra also said 97 per cent of the state exchequer’s excise revenue comes from Bengaluru.
“Close them all and see where the revenues are coming from.There should be some rationale. Everything cannot be knee-jerk,” he added.
As some of these pubs and restaurants face closure, professionals like musicians, disc jockeys, bouncers, chefs, restaurant employees may even lose jobs, he noted.
A pub owner, requesting anonymity, said there was scope for large-scale misuse of this order as Licence Raj would prevail and it would become easy for police to fix any hotelier.
Police have issued notices to more than 400 pubs and restaurants and have asked them to furnish all the details before the city commissioner within a fortnight to get licence.
Bengaluru police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar said notice had been issued in the last one month to over 400 pubs, restaurants, irrespective of whether they were in residential areas or commercial areas.
Whoever is playing live or recorded music, they have to take permission of the city police Commissioner under the licensing and control of public entertainment establishment order 2005, he added.
Mr Kumar also said he gave them a fortnight to apply for permission and once all the criteria was fulfilled, licence to play music would be issued.
Else, they would be asked to close down, he added.
Police sources said that approximately 65 pubs and restaurant owners have come forward seeking music licences.
Supporting the police move, Jayamahal Municipal ward corporator M K Gunashekar said law mandates furnishing all these documents.
“A sanctioned building plan and an occupancy certificate is mandatory to show whether the building complies with the building bye-laws of the Town and Country Planning Act. Ignorance of law excuses no one,” Mr Gunashekar said.
The recent order by the country’s top court came as a boon for the Residents’ Welfare Associations fighting against commercial activities in their areas. They were especially fed up with the noisy pubs, bars and restaurants.
Ashok Sharat, member of RWA of the posh Indira Nagar area, said,”This has nothing to do with residential or commercial area.As a member of RWA we want the law to be followed.”