The Excise Department has clarified that there is no need to make any changes in the Abkari Act or the Panchayati Raj Act to grant beer parlour licence to bars.
According to the Department, only certain norms have to be changed and it could be implemented through a notification where as an ordinance will have to be issued for amending the laws.
Bar hotels are issued with FL 3 licence and beer parlours with those in the FL 11 category. There are claims that there is no option to issue FL 11 licence to bars replacing FL 3 licence, and an amendment is needed for this.
Moreover, there is also a norm that a bar hotel needs permission from the local body concerned to get the new licence. An amendment in this regard was passed in the Assembly after the present government came into power. In that case, several panchayts may not give permission to bars to function as beer parlours. Hence, a section of experts claim that the Panchayati Raj Act will also have to be amended for this.
Even if the government brings ordinances for such amendments, the Governor may not sign them as the cases on bar issue are still sub judice. It is in this wake that Excise Department has come out with the explanation. There is already a provision in the Abkari Act that allows bar hotels to apply for FL 11 licence.
Some five-star hotels are running both bar and beer parlour after getting the licences. At present, the licences of the bar hotels that have FL 3 licence have not been cancelled, though they have not been renewed from 2013 April. Hence, they can apply for FL 11 licence.
The new liquor policy states that the licence could be issued to the bars that adhere to hygeinic norms.
The licence could be issued with just a few changes in the norms. Moreover, the permission of panchayats is not needed for this as the licences issued are not new ones.