Can’t turn blind eye to potential fire safety norm violations: Delhi HC

Asserting that it cannot turn a blind eye to potential violation of fire norms, the Delhi High Court has directed the city government authorities to conduct regular checks at Azad Market to identify the violators and refer them to the Fire Prevention Wing.

A bench headed by Chief Jusice Satish Chandra Sharma, in an order passed on Monday, directed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Delhi Fire Services to ensure scrupulous and rigorous enforcement of fire safety norms.

The court’s order came on a public interest litigation by Azad Market Residents Welfare Association for action against unauthorised and illegal constructions in the north Delhi market.

The petitioner contended there were buildings in the area that were constructed in violation of the applicable bylaws and fire safety norms resulting in fire accidents and loss of human lives.

The court said the grievance raised by the petitioner was sufficiently addressed by the MCD which cleared the area of unauthorised and illegal constructions.

“However, this Court cannot turn a blind eye towards any potential violations of Fire Norms, accordingly the MCD and the Delhi Fire Services are directed to ensure scrupulous and rigorous enforcement of the Fire Norms pertaining to premises specified under Rule 27 of the Delhi Fire Rules,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Tushar Rao Gedela.

“In this regard, the MCD shall endeavor to conduct regular monitoring of the Subject Area to ensure that persons found violating the Fire Norms are promptly identified and referred to the Fire Prevention Wing under Rule 34 of the Delhi Fire Rules,” the court said.

The court said in case of stray instances of unauthorised and illegal constructions, the petitioner may approach the Centre’s Special Task Force which is empowered to look into complaints of unlawful construction, encroachment on public land/streets, pedestrian streets etc. and take appropriate action as per law.

“We dispose of the present petition, with liberty to the Petitioner to approach the STF if the need so arises,” it said.

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