Blanket Ban On Recorded Music In Delhi Pubs "Erroneous": Restaurant Body

Three days ago, the Delhi government said that resto-bars playing recorded songs or music in their premises will attract strict action.

Blanket Ban On Recorded Music In Delhi Pubs 'Erroneous': Restaurant Body

Thousands of restaurants and bars will be affected by the Delhi government's ban on recorded music

New Delhi:  Amid the Delhi government's diktat banning playing of recorded music in resto-bars, a national body of restaurants today said such violations should be dealt on a "case-to-case" basis and termed the blanket ban "erroneous" in nature.

However, the excise department stood firm on its decision to enforce the ban.

While the National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI), which claims to represent around one lakh restaurants across the country, said it is engaging with the excise department to resolve this issue, the latter asserted that rules must be followed and any violation will invite strict action.

Days after the order, some of the restaurants also are up in arms against the excise department, saying without music, their business will not survive and every such joint cannot afford live musicians.

Three days ago, the Delhi government said that resto-bars playing recorded songs or music in their premises will attract strict action from the authority and warned these establishments against it, citing laid down rules.

NRAI president Rahul Singh said, "Any violation on this front should be dealt on a case-to-case basis, and a blanket ban is erroneous in nature."

"There are family restaurants serving various cuisines and ambient music adds to their experience. Unfortunately, this will go silent with this dictate. NRAI is engaging with the excise department to resolve the issue," he said after a meeting of the body today.

Mr Singh said music is an integral part of customer experience and the source of music should not be the cause of any action.

"Any nuisance created through music should be based on the decibel levels as prescribed by the law. If the music inside the restaurant is not violating the rules or creating any nuisance, the same should be permitted," he said.

The government has said that according to the 2010 excise rules, restaurants serving alcohol are allowed to hold only "live singing or playing of instruments" by professionals.

The move came after the Delhi Excise Department received a number of complaints from local residents regarding "nuisance" created by several resto-bars in the city.

In the national capital, there are thousands of resto-bars and most of them usually play recorded songs or music in their premises to entertain their customers and attract people.

The excise department remained firm on its decision, saying if any complaints were received, strict action will be taken.

"If there is any complaint regarding nuisance being created due to loud music, the department will not hesitate to take action. We have cited the rules in our order. We will follow them," a top excise official told PTI.

Asked how live music does not create nuisance, the official said, "We take action based on the nature of complaints we receive."

Meanwhile, Umang Tiwari who owns two restaurants in Connaught place said, "Our business will not survive without music. People are coming to these joints for entertainment. If there is no music, how will our business survive. All restaurants cannot afford live music."

Rule 53 (4) of the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010 states that the L-17 licensee is allowed only for live singing/playing of instruments by professionals.

In Delhi, there is no provision of separate licence for pubs. The Licence-17 is issued by the Excise Department to those restaurants wanting to serve alcohol to their customers.

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