Archaeological norms and building bye-laws should be applicable to all restaurants and eateries in the Hauz Khas area here, the Delhi High Court has observed while directing the local authorities to act against all violators. The observation by Justice V K Rao came during the hearing of a plea of a Hauz Khas eatery that was shut down for being located in a structure of over 15 metre height, violating the rule laid down by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The eatery, Moonshine Cafe and Bar, had claimed that it was located on the second floor of the building where there were other restaurants which were allowed to operate and had sought similar relief for itself. The high court rejected the contention saying it “cannot claim any negative equality” and dismissed the plea challenging the decision of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to close the eatery and revoke its licence.
The court, however, told the SDMC and other authorities concerned that if there was violation of any building bye-laws or permission granted by the ASI, it “should be an impediment for everyone to run a restaurant”. “The respondents cannot close their eyes and allow the illegality to be perpetuated by other restaurants in the same building. The respondents are required to take action in that regard,” the court said.
The restaurant had challenged the SDMC’s August 17 last year’s decision by which its health trade licence was revoked and it was asked to shut shop. The corporation had taken the decision as the eatery was running from a building that was more than 15 metres in height which was not permitted in the area as per ASI norms. Apart from that the other reasons cited by the corporation were that the eatery was being operated in unhygienic conditions and was catering to more than 48 persons without any fire safety clearance.
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