The Delhi Government has reportedly banned recorded music in restro-bars in the city after residents complained of “nuisance” from these establishments due to the music. The circular issued by the Delhi Excise Department, however, allows the restro-pubs to play live music.
The government has cited the 2010 excise rules while issuing the diktat. The circular says, “In exercise of powers conferred under rule 53 (4) of Delhi Excise Rules, 2010, the undersigned hereby directs all the licensees of the department holding L-17 license to do business in strict compliance of provisions of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009 and Excise Rules, 2010. It is reiterated that the L-17 licensee is permitted only to have live singing/playing of instruments by professionals within his licenced premises. Violation of these rules shall lead to strict action as per law.”
“We received several complaints from residents who were unhappy about the loud music often played in these restaurants. So, rather than targeting any individual area, we have requested all restaurant owners to follow the guidelines,” a senior official from the Department of Excise said.
“L-17 (restaurants which serve food and alcohol) are only permitted for live singing and playing of instruments by professionals in their premises,” Delhi Excise Commissioner Amjad Tak told PTI. According to Delhi Excise Rules, 2010, L-17 licensee is allowed only for live singing/playing of instruments by professionals.
Restaurateurs are, however, not pleased with the decision. Pub owner Umang Tiwari has questioned the logic behind the circular. He told The Indian Express, “This will be another blow. We are already reeling under the impact of note ban, GST, sealing drive. Our business is already down and this will aggravate the situation… I fail to understand the purpose behind this circular. What is the point of allowing live music by professionals and not recorded music? Plus, most pubs are in commercial areas.”
Priyank Sukhija, owner of Flying Saucer and Boombox Cafe, said, “Technically, mixers and CD players are also instruments and a DJ is also a professional. A few years ago, this circular had surfaced. Even then, we used this logic after meeting with the excise department. If there is any problem, we will approach the court for this. It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard since being in this industry.”
Saurabh Oberoi, general secretary of the Hauz Khas market association, stated, “Having some kind of music adds to the ambience of a place, but not everyone can afford having live bands play for them every night. With band performances, we can’t really guarantee the kind of music we are offering to the audience either.”
However, residence and welfare associations aren’t too pleased with the decision either as live music doesn’t necessarily translate to less noise. Chetan Sharma, secretary general of NCR RWAs, told DNA India, “Our issue is to curtail the time music is played — 10 PM should be the cut-off time. It is a misconception that live or instrumental music will bring us peace. Another concern is who will monitor the execution of the rule,.