A week after the Delhi High Court warned of issuing orders to close down Khan Market, the market’s welfare association (KMWA) on Thursday informed the court that the existing restaurants did not require ‘no objection’ certificates from the Delhi Police and Delhi Fire Services (DFS) as they had a seating capacity of less than 50 persons.
The counsel for KMWA placed a notification issued by the Delhi government, stating that eateries with seating capacity of less than 50 did not need an NOC from the police and fire departments but could operate on a licence issued by municipal authorities.
The court of Justice R S Endlaw has now issued notice to DFS and police to be impleaded in the matter, as the counsels for KMWA and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) were unable to answer the court’s query on the procedure and criteria required to get an NOC certificate for a restaurant that wants to increase its seating capacity.
The court has also asked the licencing authorities of the DFS and police to answer whether the eateries in the market complied with fire safety norms.
The notice by the court was issued on a plea filed by KMWA, seeking implementation of a redevelopment plan for the market.
However, during the hearing, NDMC counsel advocate Anil Grover told the court that while the NDMC had been asked by the Union Urban Development Ministry to prepare a redevelopment plan, the cost of the project would have to be borne by the shop-owners in the market. The lawyer argued that the Khan Market Traders’ Association and the KMWA would have to finance the redevelopment project, as the market was “privately-owned”. The NDMC also stated that no plan for redevelopment had been finalised so far.
On the last date of hearing, the court had asked KMWA to submit the NOCs. It had also cautioned that if proper clearances had not been taken, restaurants in the popular market would have to shut down. The court has now asked police and DFS to submit their responses to the plea within three days.