Inform in a week about steps needed to implement fire safety norms in vulnerable buildings: Bombay HC to state govt

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The Bombay High Court on Monday sought the state government’s response within a week on developments pertaining to a PIL seeking enforcement of draft regulations for fire safety in buildings vulnerable to man-made disasters. The regulations were formulated in 2009 in the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks, which took place in the city in November, 2008.
The PIL had sought directions to the state government for the issuance of the final notification on ‘Special Regulations for Building Vulnerable to Manmade Disasters’.
While the state’s counsel said that the government will take four months to implement the previous order, the court pointed out that it had already given the state three-months’ time which it did not comply with. The court them asked the state to inform it within a week’s time about the steps planned in the regard.
Earlier, on April 11, the bench had pulled up Maharashtra government while referring to its response to the PIL and had observed that the government has “utterly failed to justify its complete inaction.”
The state, in its affidavit, had said that due to passage of time and scientific and technological improvements, the said recommendations could no longer be implemented, adding that the government was required to revisit the same as the related documents had also got destroyed in the fire at Mantralaya in 2012.
The bench had asked the Urban Development Department to explore the desirability of incorporating special regulation through an amendment in 2034 Development Control and Promotion Regulations (DCPR). It had adjourned the PIL hearing to July 18, Monday, to enable the state government to report further developments in the matter.
On Monday, Advocate Hiten Venegaonkar representing the state submitted that the government needed four months. However, a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M S Karnik said that there should have been an affidavit by now showing further developments about the steps being planned in the direction.
Advocate Aditya Pratap, representing petitioner activist Abha Singh, said that there should be transparency in the process as due to influence of developers, fire safety norms were not being properly implemented.
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