To prevent Uphaar-type fire tragedies, the Supreme Court on Thursday issued a series of guidelines to ensure public safety in cinema halls.
A bench of Justice RV Raveendran and Justice KS Radhakrishnan directed the govt to start giving fire-safety ratings to cinema halls on the basis of safety measures implemented by the theatre management. The ratings would be displayed at the entrance of each theatre.
The court also said that the Delhi Police (licensing) department should stop granting licences to theatres. Instead, a specialised nodal agency should be constituted, comprising technical experts, for granting and renewing these licences.
The bench made half-yearly inspections of the halls mandatory. It said that the disaster management authority must conduct mock-drills once a year.The authorities were also ordered to make separate rules for multiplexes and that the staff and ushers must be trained in fire drills. "Every cinema hall must have emergency plans displayed prominently," the bench added.
A short documentary must be screened during the show about the location of entry and exit gates. “Theatres are entitled to regulate the exit and entry doors. However, the entry doors should not be bolted from outside,” said the court.
Fifty-nine persons had died and 103 injured when fire broke out on June 13, 1997 in Uphaar cinema hall. It was later revealed that the entry gates were bolted from outside.