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Occupancy Certificate key to music in pubs; building violations root cause



BENGALURU: A year after the Supreme Court order banning sale of liquor around highways hit hundreds of businesses within the city until the court later clarified that they can be spared, pubs and restaurants in Bengaluru are now scrambling to comply with another regulation they term unfair or face a ban on music.

It’s a throwback to the argument whether enforcement agencies are throwing out the spirit of the law in a bid to implement it in letter. Restaurants and pubs claim they’re not against complying with any law, but request agencies not to impose rules which they feel are retrospective, even “draconian”.

Authorities and other stakeholders, however, argue that the law has been in place for a long time and it’s being implemented now after the sector lost in the courts. The Licensing and Controlling of Places of Public Entertainment (Bangalore City) Order 2005’, under the Karnataka Police Act, empowers police to regulate playing of music in commercial establishments.

Earlier this month, cops issued notices to 400 establishments asking them to procure licences under the rule and suspend music till then. Police are empowered implement the rule after its opponents lost their case in Karnataka high court and Supreme Court.

“We’re not saying we won’t apply for the licence, but documents required are beyond our control; Occupancy Certificate (OC), for instance, must be procured by the building owner. We’re being punished for things we’re not responsible for and that’ll affect many livelihoods,” Akshat Prasad, core committee member, Indiranagar Restaurants Association, said.

He added, “As we understand it, the issue of playing music is a law & order problem and convenience of locals. What’s an OC got to do with it? We have all other clearances to run our extablishments. If there are some without necessary clearances, we’re not opposed to their being shut down,” he said.

National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) Bengaluru Chapter president Manu Chandra said any retrospective rule is draconian in nature. “All these years, we were not required to produce the OC. Now, we’re being told we should have it when we started. Is it fair?” he says.

Establishments must produce, apart from the OC, noobjection certificates from agencies like pollution control board and other licences like trade, and shops & establishment. Eight documents are required.

Activists and residents point out that the OC is the primary document. BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said: “If they’ve not violated any bye laws or building plans, they have nothing to fear. They can apply and get the OC.”

TOUGH MEASURES: Police have issued notices to 400 establishments, asking them to procure licences to play music


The businesses said they’re hopeful of home minister G Parameshwara intervening and relaxing certain norms to obtain the music licence. “They said since this was a state law, local legislators have the powers to make amendments,” Chandra said. He added, “The home minister was sympathetic to our views at a meeting. Unfortunately, he had to attend to emergency. Once we get a chance to meet him again, we’re hopeful the government will intervene,” Chandra said.

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