August 2, 2017 9:49:41 pm
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday observed that not a single eatery in the popular Hauz Khas village in south Delhi appeared to have fire safety clearance. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar made the observation as the fire department had not disclosed in its affidavit whether it had received any reference from the police or the municipal corporations for fire safety certification to any eatery in the area.
It directed the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to provide a site plan of the area indicating the width of the street, location of the properties and the village area as well as the permissible usage of the properties as per the master plan of Delhi.
The court issued the direction saying no master plan would allow a village to be converted into a street of restaurants.
As the deputy commissioner of police (DCP) and the chief fire officer of the area had not filed any status reports as ordered by the court on the last date of hearing, they were directed to carry out random surprise inspection of the area and file a report within five days.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on August 22.
The court was hearing two public interest litigations alleging “unlawful existence” of restaurants, pubs, fashion studios, bars serving liquor without licence, art galleries and other buildings in the village.
The petitioners, social activist Pankaj Sharma and advocate Anuja Kapur, alleged that there are over 120 restaurants and pubs running in the area without any building plan approval or no objection certificate (NOC) from the authorities, including the fire department.
On the last date of hearing, the bench had pulled up the SDMC and the police for allowing eating joints to come up neck and neck in violation of building laws and the master plan in Hauz Khas village.
It had observed that the restaurants were located “one on top of another” in the area and were running out of residential properties which had been converted for commercial use.
The petitioners have also claimed that these restaurants posed a grave security risk and fire hazard and apart from that the crowd in the area had made it impossible for emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks to gain access to the restaurants.
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