Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Monday warned the commissionerates of Hyderabad, Rachakonda, and Cyberabad against allowing pubs without a permit in accordance with the 2005 Place of Public Entertainment/Amusement) Rules and ordered that no loud music should be played in pubs after 10 pm.
Hearing a petition from residents complaining about the nuisance caused by pubs in their residential localities, Justice Kanneganti Lalitha questioned the three commissionerates about the action they intended to take against pubs that had been found to be in violation of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules of 2000, the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986, the Hyderabad and Secunderabad (Amusement) Rules of 1995, and the Hyderabad and Secunderabad (Pub) Rules of 1998.
The petitioners contended that the proprietors of several pubs in the city were allowing loud music longer than is allowed or at decibel levels that are over what is permissible.
They asserted that a nuisance was being created by allowing late-night dancing and music, as well as allowing bars to open up within 500 metres of residential neighbourhoods. They further informed the court that vehicles were parked in front of their gates.
Justice Kanneganti Lalitha questioned the Hyderabad, Cyberabad, and Rachakonda police whether or not they were aware that the licence was necessary in accordance with the Amusement Rules.
The judge also questioned the police on whether or not the pubs had obtained permits from the police to play loud music.
In response to the police’s assertions that they were prosecuting pubs for offences, Justice Lalitha emphasised that the information and evidence they provided did not support their claims.
Justice Lalitha reminded the rules and the powers of the police to punish violators, stating that the police are competent to take action against violators by imposing fines and registering cases if they continue to break the law.
The first offence will result in a fine of Rs 2,000, while further offences will result in fines of Rs 4,000.
The judge further noted that under Section 15 of the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986, a repeat offender may be punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend to five years, a fine that may extend to Rs 1 lakh, or both.
If the violation persists, additional fines that may extend to Rs 5,000 may be imposed for each additional day that the violation persists following the conviction for the first such failure or violation.
According to the same Rules, a violation that lasts longer than a year and after the date of conviction will result in a sentence of up to seven years in prison for the offender.
The judge questioned the police, asking if any cases had been registered in accordance with these sections and laws.
“It appears that none of the bars in the twin cities have obtained necessary permits from the police to operate under these rules. Without these permissions, they are not permitted to run a bar or restaurant, play music, or host dancing activities at any time, much less after 10 pm,” the court observed.
The court scheduled the hearing after the Dasara holiday after hearing the arguments from both parties and asking the police and excise departments to submit a counter.