NOC from Fire Services Department – Additional compliance for restaurants

In accordance with Rule 51(10) (h) of the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010, for the consumption of liquor on the premises of a restaurant, a no-objection certificate (“NOC”) from the Fire Services Department is required to be obtained by restaurants.
The Fire Services Department is currently granting the NOC to restaurants which have a capacity of fifty seats or more at their premises. The Excise authorities for purpose of issuance of the retail license for consumption of liquor in restaurants (having a capacity of fifty seats and above) have now made it mandatory to obtain a NOC from the Fire Services Department. In the case where restaurants have a capacity of less than fifty seats, an affidavit for the compliance with the fire safety measures is required to be procured.
However, on account of the recent incident of a fire breaking out at a hotel in New Delhi, the above mandate for restaurants for obtaining a NOC from the Fire Services Department have been revisited by the authorities.
Recently, the Department of Delhi Fire Services also clarified that restaurants which have an area of 90 sq. mts or more are covered under Rule 27 of the Delhi Fire Services Rules are required to submit their sanctioned plans (comprising details of area, height, means of escape, fire safety arrangements etc.) issued by the jurisdictional municipal corporation.
As per the recent order issued by the Office of Commissioner of Excise, Entertainment and Luxury tax, all restaurants (with an existing excise license) which have a gross floor area of 90 sq. mts and above (irrespective of their seating capacity) are required to submit a copy of the NOC obtained from the Fire Services Department. Non-compliance with this requirement mentioned in the order will result in the excise license obtained by such restaurants for consumption of liquor on it premises be liable for action prescribed by the Delhi Excise Act and Rules including the suspension/ cancellation of the Excise License.
It will be essential to mention that the Excise License is issued on the basis of the Eating House License issued by the Delhi Police and the Health Trade License issued by the jurisdictional municipal corporation.
This move is although precautionary with a sole objective to avoid mishaps to life and property, it has resulted in restaurant owners across Delhi being immensely effected. There are multiple licenses/ approvals required to be obtained by restaurants. The requirement of obtaining the NOC from the Fire Services Department is the latest compliance required to be adhered by restaurants by or before the deadline mentioned in the order issued, failing which the Excise License may also be liable for suspension/cancellation.

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