Every other day Mumbai sees fire incident: HC raps Maharashtra govt; says laxness cannot be accepted

Every other day there is a fire incident in Mumbai in which people lose their lives, the Bombay High Court said on Wednesday, pulling up the Maharashtra government for dragging its feet on implementation of fire safety rules and regulations.

A division bench of Chief Justice D K Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor said this was a “very very serious” issue and “no laxness can be accepted”.

“Fire incidents appear to be on a rise. Every other day in this city there is a fire incident and there are reports of people losing their lives,” CJ Upadhyaya said.

The court said it was not its job to keep prompting the government on what steps need to be taken.

“This is not done. Are we sitting here to prompt you (the government) for every action? Is this our job? What is all this happening here?” CJ Upadhyaya said.

The bench referred to the fire incident which occurred recently in a four-storey residential building in south Mumbai, where an 82-year-woman and her 60-year-old son lost their lives.

“The manner in which these two deaths have occurred…is this what you (government) want for the people in this city…to lose their loved family members like this?” CJ Upadhyaya asked.

Additional government pleader Jyoti Chavan informed the court that an expert committee, formed last year, had in February 2023 submitted its report.

The report is placed before the state Urban Development Department for consideration and to take steps to amend the Development Control and Promotion Control (DCPR) 2034, Chavan said.

The bench noted that the report was submitted in February and no steps have been taken till now.

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“We are in December now. What is the government doing? Any laxness cannot be accepted,” the court said.

The bench directed the Principal Secretary of the Urban Development Department to inform the court on Friday the time it would take on the issue.

“We want a specific timeline,” the court said.

The bench was hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocate Abha Singh in 2019 seeking enforcement of the 2009 draft special rules and regulations for fire safety in buildings vulnerable to man-made disasters.

The regulations were issued in 2009 in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

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