Over the last one week, police in New Delhi district have been conducting surprise late night visits to restaurants and pubs to doa ‘sound check’ at these establishments.
Police said they had received several complaints from guests who frequented these places that the restaurants were playing loud music, after the stipulated 1 am deadline and this in turn was turning the restaurants into “mini-discotheques”.
Last weekend, police visited several eateries in Khan Market and other places and issued challans to them for flouting rules of licence agreement.
Additional Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) S B S Tyagi clarified that police were only enforcing the rules of the licence agreement and had not issued any new rules.
“When restaurants are given their licences, they are advised to not play music above 5 decibel. We received a lot of complaints about several lounge and restaurants playing peppy numbers, which is basically loud music, and people dancing to it on the floor. The law says that no music above the level of 5 decibel can be played unless its a discotheque. On receiving these complaints, we conducted surprise checks and penalised those who were found flouting the rules,” he said.
Police have pasted notices and warned restaurants from playing music after 12.30 am. The restaurant employees will be allowed to take the last order at 12.30 am after which they have to switch off the music.
“If the restaurants want to play loud music and function like a discotheque then they should take a license to run a discotheque. They can play loud songs, peppy numbers and we will not have a problem with that. The common public should not be troubled when they go to dine at a restaurant,” Tyagi said. The DCP said about 3-4 restaurants had been fined so far.
“ We aren’t playing any music, as per the orders issued. We will be happy to comply with the guidelines issue by the Delhi Police. But our guests are here, they’re eating and drinking,” Ravinder Singh Rana, manager of Route 04 in Khan Market, said.
An owner of a bar, however, said the new order was “definitely bad for business”.
“Our sales will go down. With a long weekend coming up, everybody is in a zesty mood. But without music, they will end up going to other places in the city that can play music. Without music, the business of drinking and eating becomes a very dreary affair,” an owner of a bar in Khan Market said.
The Licensing Department of Delhi Police also denied the issue of any new orders and said there was no change in the rules.