New Delhi, December 20, 2023 – In response to mounting complaints about unauthorized liquor service at banquet halls, farmhouses, and event venues during weddings and parties, the Delhi government has issued a stern directive mandating operators to pre-register with the excise department. The move aims to curb the illegal serving of alcohol without obtaining the required temporary P-10 licence.

The Deputy Commissioner (Excise) recently issued an order stating that online registration, without any initial payment, will commence on December 25. The order outlines stringent consequences for excise violations on the premises, including a minimum three-month debarment from applying for P-10 permits for the first offense and a one-year debarment for repeat violations.

The P-10 licence, designed for serving liquor at private gatherings, typically costs Rs 10,000, with motels, banquet halls, and farmhouses incurring a fee of Rs 15,000. The enforcement team has been conducting random checks at wedding venues and private parties, taking penal action against hosts found serving alcoholic beverages without the necessary permit.

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Data accessed by TOI revealed a notable disparity in P-10 licences issued during different periods. In the 2022-23 fiscal, 8,237 permits were issued during the five-month festival and wedding season (October 1 to February 28), while only 5,353 permits were issued in the seven months from March 1 to September 30. During the festival season in October and November this year, only 1,716 P-10 licences were issued, despite a surge in events.

The excise department emphasized the importance of compliance during events, and the directive follows a November issuance instructing restaurants in the city to refrain from applying for temporary licences to serve liquor.

While 935 hotels, clubs, and restaurants possess the necessary excise licence to serve liquor, the excise department identified 5,374 standalone restaurants eligible for a liquor licence. Officials expressed concern over some establishments using P-10 licences to procure alcohol from retailers, circumventing the regular excise licence and causing revenue loss to the state exchequer. The government is determined to address this issue, emphasizing the need for businesses to adhere to regulations and contribute to the state’s revenue through proper licensing procedures.