The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked why the previous and present governments in Maharashtra did not get the time to form a committee to implement fire safety rules though it reportedly issued 400-odd government resolutions (GRs) recently.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and MS Karnik directed the state government to file an affidavit detailing the steps it had taken to constitute such a committee and implement fire safety norms in vulnerable buildings since previous orders passed on April 11 this year.
The court’s direction came after state counsel Hiten Venegaonkar said the government was in the process of including the safety draft rules framed in 2009 in the new Development Control and Planning Regulations (DCPR).
Venegaonkar told the court a special committee needs to be constituted before the draft rules can be included in the DCPR and setting up such an expert committee will take three to four months.
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Asserting that this was ”too long a period”, the HC said, ”Three and a half months for setting up the committee? We read in newspapers that recently 400 GRs were issued. But a simple committee could not be constituted even when the lives of countless people are at stake?” The HC then asked Venegaonkar to produce by Friday relevant records to show ”what progress had been made post its directions issued in April.”’ The court was hearing public interest litigation filed by advocate Aditya Pratap seeking enforcement of draft special regulations for fire safety in buildings vulnerable to man-made disasters. The regulations were issued in 2009 in the aftermath of 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai.