"Apathy Of State Is Telling": Bombay HC On Non-Inclusion Of Safety Regulations For Buildings In DCPR
The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government to amend the 2034 Development Control and Promotion Regulations (DCPR) to include safety regulations for buildings vulnerable to fire and other man-made disasters.
A Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MG Sewlikar also questioned the state's submission that it had been unable to implement the safety regulations since 2008, due to a fire in Mantralaya building in 2009, in which the concerned records were apparently destroyed.
"The apathy of the state is telling. The state, in its affidavit, refers to a fire at Mantralaya in which all documents from 2009 were destroyed. The state says there was no deliberate omission on its part, but because of destruction of records due to the fire, the issue remained unaddressed," the High Court said.
"This is another case where the state has utterly failed to justify its complete inaction. Notwithstanding the fire, the state didn't find it difficult to come up with the 2034 Development Plan," it said.
The High Court was hearing a PIL filed by Advocate Abha Singh seeking enforcement of fire safety and other special safety regulations in buildings vulnerable to man-made disasters.
The draft special safety regulations were formulated by the Maharashtra government after the 26/11 terror attacks that took place in the city in 2008.
These regulations were notified in February 2009 and the government soon after sought objections and suggestions from the public, though nothing further was done after these were received.
In its affidavit filed in High Court today, the state government submitted that it proposed to constitute another expert panel to come up with fresh safety regulations that will factor in "advanced technology."
The High Court, however, dismissed the submission saying the state should have made earnest endeavors to implement safety guidelines. It said that the National Building Code (NBC) too provided for the implementation of such safety norms.
The High Court directed the Maharashtra government to incorporate the special regulations and stipulations of the NBC in the 2034 Development Control and Promotion Regulations (DCPR) and the unified DCPR. The High Court directed the state to report on developments made by the latter by July 18.
With PTI inputs