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 Apex 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 Bengalurupolice commissioner had issued a notice in 2005 asking pubs, hotels and restaurants to get licence to playrecorded or live music as playing loud music was causing nuisance. Pubs and restaurant owners challenged the order in the apex court, which recently passed an order infavour of the police. Now, the city police has askedpubs and restaurant owners to get permission bysubmitting all the documents. Restaurateur Manu Chandra told PTI that according to the directive anybody playing music, irrespective of whether itis 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?" Chandra asked. He further said passing such a law would have serious effect on the excise revenues too. "You can't keep passing somany laws. What's going to happen to the excise revenues? Iwant to know who is going to pay off the farm loan waiver. Onthe one side you are promising Rs 25,000 crore farm loanwaiver and on the other you have pressure on excisedepartment to generate Rs 18,000 crore revenue," he said. Chandra also said 97 per cent ofthe 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 kneejerk,"he added. As some of these pubs and restaurants face closure, professionals like musicians, disc jockeys, bouncers, chefs, restaurantemployees may even lose jobs, he noted.
A pub owner, requesting anonymity, said there was scope forlarge-scale misuse of this order as Licence Raj would prevailand 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 liveor recorded music, they have to take permission of thecity police Commissioner under the licensing and controlof public entertainment establishment order 2005, he added. Kumar also said he gave them a fortnight to apply for permission and once all the criteria was fulfilled, licenceto play music would be issued.
Else, they would be asked toclose 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," Gunashekar said. The recent order by the country's top court came as a boon for theResidents' Welfare Associations fighting against commercial activities in their areas. They wereespecially 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.