Fire safety of two south Delhi malls under HC scanner, AAP govt’s stand sought

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The Delhi High Court today sought the AAP government’s stand on a PIL alleging that commercial activities inside the open area of two popular south Delhi malls could pose a risk to public safety if there was a fire or an earthquake.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the Delhi government, the DDA, police, fire department, the Select City Walk and DLF malls, seeking their responses by August 31. The court also sought status reports from the authorities.

It asked why periodic and random inspections have not been carried out as “this is a country where without regular inspections, nothing happens”.

The observations came after the Delhi government said that inspections were carried out every three years.

It also assured the bench that an inspection of the two malls at Saket locality of south Delhi would be carried out in the manner suggested by the court.

The court was hearing the plea by an advocate who has alleged that the two malls have “not adhered to the fire safety rules and national building codes” which mandate that there would be no encroachment of common areas, exits, terraces and other open areas which should be kept unobstructed for movement of public during any emergencies like fire or earthquake.

The petitioner has alleged that these malls were running commercial activities at all these open areas posing a “risk to safety and security of the general public”.

Gupta, in his plea, has sought directions to the authorities to remove or demolish the encroachments, obstructions or alterations in the open or common areas, entries and exits.

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