The Delhi High Court on Thursday said fire clearance norms for restaurants in the national Capital were moronic and responsible for accidents, PTI reported.
The court was talking about fire safety clearance guidelines laid down by the Arvind Kejriwal-led government while hearing the petitions of two restaurants that have challenged the decision to seal them because of lack of fire safety clearances. The eateries operate on separate floors in the same building at Hauz Khas Village in South Delhi.
“It is moronic, for want of a better word,” the court said. “No wonder fire accidents happen. You [government] are looking at it [fire clearance] in the wrong way. You have to look at it building-wise.”
Justice Vibhu Bakhru made the observation after being told that clearances are granted to restaurants after taking into account the number of their seats instead of considering the capacity of the buildings where they are located. The court pointed out that in case a building has a separate restaurant on each floor, none of them will require fire-safety clearances as long as the individual seating capacity remains under 50.
The court sought responses from the Delhi government and other local authorities. “Prima facie, fire clearance has to be looked at from the view of capacity of building as a whole and not restaurant-wise,” it said, according to PTI. The case will be heard again on August 26.
The petitioner agreed to keep one of the eateries shut until the required fire safety clearance is received, and asked the court to allow the other one to operate at a reduced capacity. The court noted the submission and instructed the petitioner to inform the competent authority about this.
The High Court also asked authorities for a swift decision on the receipt of the application and to permit the other restaurants to operate if it meets all guidelines. The case will be heard again on August 26.
On Tuesday, the Delhi government ordered the city’s fire department to inspect coaching centres that operate out of high-rise buildings and said facilities running out of structures that violate fire safety rules. The order was issued after a fire at a coaching centre in Surat last week killed 22 people.