A PIL filed in the Bombay High Court has accused the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation of callousness in enforcing mandatory installations of fire equipment in shops and other establishments.
In his PIL, Dinar Sohoni, a lawyer, has alleged that several hotels and shops in the city are flouting fire safety norms as prescribed in the Bombay Shops and Establishments Act, 1948.
According to the PIL, after surveying major parts of the city and suburbs, Sohoni found that many hotels did not have adequate fire safety apparatuses, especially fire extinguishers.
The lawyer said he shot off letters to around 25 shops and hotels, of which only one replied. After not getting satisfactory response from the hotels, Sohoni sought information from assistant municipal commissioners (AMC) of nine wards in the city. Though the municipal officers provided him with some data, Sohoni alleged they asked him to write to the fire brigade department as it is the licensing authority.
The fire brigade department in turn directed the petitioner to approach the AMCs as they are the prosecuting authorities, claimed Sohoni.
“Both the BMC and the fire brigade department are providing wrong data which is as good as not giving data,” the PIL claimed.
Giving examples of the fire breakout at Mantralaya and CST, the PIL recommended installations as per Section 42 of the Act.
Sohoni urged that the municipal authority as well as the fire department be directed to provide correct data as sought. In addition, the PIL sought directions to the BMC for prosecuting and penalising all establishments that have failed to implement fire safety measures, as per Section 52 of the Act, which prescribes ‘offences and penalties’.