The Karnataka High Court on Monday ordered issue of notice to the State government on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition that said that the authorities concerned had failed to inspect majority of the high-rise buildings in Bangalore as per the law.
A Division Bench comprising Justice K.L. Manjunath and Justice H.S. Kempanna passed the order on a petition filed by Beyond Carlton, a charitable trust started by family members of those who died in the 2010 fire tragedy at Carlton Towers in Bangalore.
The PIL pointed out that the government on July 7, 2011, had issued a notification under Section 13 of the Karnataka Fire Force Act, 1964, making inspection of all the high rise buildings in Bangalore city mandatory. It was to be carried out by the Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services (KSFES) Department within nine months from the date of the notification.
The notification itself was issued after the State government gave an undertaking to that effect in the High Court in response to a PIL petition filed by Beyond Carlton after the Carlton Towers tragedy.
However, the petitioner, relying on the information obtained under the RTI Act, pointed out that of the about 1,091 high rise buildings in the city, only 79 have been inspected till date. The petitioner added that the government had not even provided adequate number of staff to the Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services Department to inspect all the high rise buildings despite the latter’s request.
Quoting some of the recent fire accidents in the city, the petitioner-trust urged the court to direct the authorities concerned to inspect all high-rise buildings as per the law and submit a biennial report to the High Court on the progress made with regard to inspecting buildings.