The Delhi government’s excise department has issued an order directing hotels, clubs and restaurants to ensure that CCTV cameras installed on their premises are functional at all times. A failure to comply with the direction may lead to strict action, including cancellation of the excise licence, said a senior government official. The order was issued after the excise department took note of instances flagged by excise teams which found non-functional CCTV cameras at establishments during routine inspections. Excise officials said such defunct cameras were hindering their inspection drives.
“Instances have come to the notice of the department that CCTV cameras installed at hotels, clubs and restaurants are found to be non-functional during the inspection,” said the December 7 order. It further said, “In many cases, the hotel and restaurant staff cite non-working cameras to avoid providing footage demanded by inspecting teams to check violations.”
The CCTV cameras help to check violations such as serving of alcohol to underage people, serving liquor beyond the permitted hours, consumption of liquor outside the premises, and law and order situations, among other irregularities, for which footage from both inside and outside the premises of restaurants, hotels and clubs are necessary, the official said
Delhi has around 850 restaurants, hotels and clubs that have the licences to serve liquor.
The order stated that all hotels, clubs and restaurants are directed to ensure that CCTV cameras are installed at appropriate locations within and outside the licensed premises and record all activities without any break. “Non-compliance of the said order will be viewed seriously and if the CCTV cameras installed at the hotels, clubs and restaurants are found non-functional by the inspecting team of the (excise) department without any justified reason, the same will be treated as wilful (default) and stern action, including cancellation of licences, may be taken against the defaulter,” the order further said.
Restaurant owners said they always cooperate with the authorities but in each case, the management of the enterprise should at least be given a fair hearing. Riyaaz Amlani, trustee of the national restaurants association of India, said, “CCTV cameras are also a matter that concerns the safety and security of people. We encourage restaurants, clubs and hotels to ensure that they have CCTV cameras installed and to ensure that these are functional. We welcome the rule, but we urge that it should not be applied in a draconian fashion. In each case, if cameras are found non-functional, the enterprise should be given a fair hearing before any action is taken.”