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Fire officer can seal a building if safety norms not followed: HC

Delhi High Court had, from time to time, issued directions to the authorities for prevention of fire and for the safety of people at large.

delhi Updated: Jun 15, 2017 11:31 IST
Soibam Rocky Singh
Soibam Rocky Singh
Hindustan Times
Delhi High Court,High Court,Fire Safety
he High Court had said that it was the responsibility of the chief fire officer to see that fire safety measures are provided in high-rise buildings, business buildings or mercantile buildings in accordance with Building Bye-laws.(HT File Photo)

Fire safety in buildings in the capital has always been an issue of concern for the Delhi High Court, which has laid down various directions from time to time for the authorities here to follow not only for the prevention of fire but for the safety of the people at large.

Last year, the High Court had observed that restaurants operating in first floor flats of capital’s posh Khan Market are a fire hazard and a fire trap, with no proper measures for escape in the event of fire.

Terming it as “a disaster waiting to happen”, the High Court had directed the Delhi Fire Service to inspect the restaurants for violation of safety norms. It also reminded of the 1997 Uphaar Cinema tragedy in which 59 persons lost their lives and more than 100 persons suffered injuries.

While Building Bye-laws and other laws are in place to ensure safety of buildings and their occupants, a performance audit conducted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) last year had found that around 80% government-run hospitals in Delhi do not comply with basic fire safety measures.

This is despite a 2004 judgment of the High Court ruling that owner or occupier of any building having a height of 15 metres, erected within the territorial limits of Delhi, must provide fire safety measures.

The High Court had said that it was the responsibility of the chief fire officer to see that fire safety measures are provided in high-rise buildings or business buildings or mercantile buildings in accordance with Building Bye-laws.

It had directed the authorities, including the electricity distribution companies, to not supply essential services such as electricity to a new high-rise building unless and until the building is erected in accordance with the law and bye-laws.

It had ordered that the fire officers to carry out periodical as well as surprise checking to ensure that the fire safety measures provided in the high-rise buildings are in place and in working condition.

On failure to comply with the Building Bye-laws, the High Court had said that the fire officer can take steps to get the essential supplies such as water and electricity to such buildings disconnected and get the buildings sealed.

First Published: Jun 14, 2017 23:27 IST