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SC Issues Notice to States on PIL alleging buildings, including Supreme Court & Parliament are not Fire-Safe

Team SoOLEGAL 6 Jul 2018 9:30am

SC Issues Notice to States on PIL alleging buildings, including Supreme Court & Parliament are not Fire-Safe

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a notice to Centre on a PIL demanding implementation of the National Building Code of India (NBC) to prevent fire tragedies in several buildings throughout the country, including the Supreme Court and Parliament.

The notice was issued by a 3-judge bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud on a petition filed by an NGO, United Human Rights Federation.

The NGO in its PIL has alleged that even though the fire safety and life safety measures have been revised time and again by way of the National Building Code of India, none of the measures have been implemented by the authorities effectively.

The petition further asserts that several establishments throughout the country, including banquet halls, hotels, and even educational institutions, violate the building code as well as fire safety norms thereby increasing the chances of tragic incidents.

The petition further alleges that some builders make illegal use of the open spaces or the refugee areas provided for in the NBC.

It has also been contended in the petition that there are several measures listed in the NBC, like provision for fire-lifts in high-rise buildings, fire-escape staircases in buildings for emergency situations and storage of heavy static water in underground tanks. The petition, however, claims that these measures are flouted by most of the builders and developers.

In fact, the petition also asserts that,

There are blatant violations in the buildings of Hon’ble Supreme Court and Parliament House as far as the Fire Safety Management concerns. As while pursuing the extensive research on fire safety issues in India, the petitioner has encountered with the news of unsafe conditions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and Parliament house, the two utmost important building resembling the symbol of democracy.”

The petition claims that such contraventions are in clear violation of the rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Constitution of India. The petition, in fact, alleges that the safety measures listed in the NBC have been flouted by the developers in “connivance with” the government authorities.

…the provisions of the National building code as amended time to time upto 2016 is blatantly violating by the speculative developers/contractors/owners in connivance with the govt. authorities and thereby about 25 lacs people were losing their lives in different type of fire accidents tragedies… and also the existing authorities have failed honour their duties in the utmost respect of the constitutional provisions…(sic)”

Therefore, the petitioner seeks directions to be issued to the State authorities to ensure that fire safety measures in buildings are in accord with the National Building Code and other bye-laws passed by the State and the Centre.

Additionally, the petition has also demanded that:

  1. A "Centralised Audit Mechanism" must be set up for conducting a quarterly or yearly audit of the public access buildings.
  2. The respondent authorities must be directed to implement a third party audit mechanism for the high rise buildings, throughout the country, once their construction is complete.
  3. The respondents must seal the buildings that violate the building safety norms and bye laws.
  4. Directions must be issued to the respondents to fix the liability upon erring officials, developer and owner of such buildings to provide compensation to the victims.
  5. No certificate of completion should be issued to buildings that are not in conformity with the provisions of the National Building Code.
Tagged: Supreme Court   National Building Code of India   Centre   Article 14   Article 19   Article 21  
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