Lack of fire safety measures criticised

Seeks govt. response on need to strictly implement National Building Code

Agreeing that lax implementation of fire safety measures led to tragedies like the Uphaar theatre blaze and Mumbai's Kamla Mills fire, the Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to respond to the apparently poor implementation of the National Building Code by “speculative” developers and builders.

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra admitted a petition filed by United Human Rights Federation, represented by senior advocate Parag Tripathi and advocate V.K. Biju, who argued that the non-implementation of the amended Code violates the fundamental right to life of gullible citizens.

Mr. Biju argued separately that authorities should take immediate action against violation of fire safety measures in multi-stories buildings of the modern day. “It is a fact that every year about 25,000 persons die due to fires and related causes,” Mr. Biju submitted.

The petition notes that precautions in the Code of 2016 such as provision of fire lifts in high rise buildings, fire-scape stairs for firemen, heavy static water storage, automatic sprinklers in basement car parking, etc, are usually given a miss by developers.

Top court not safe

The petitioners submitted that a Central Information Commission order in 2014 had even noted that the Supreme Court building and the Parliament had not received fire safety certificates.

“The commission had extracted in its order the fire in the Andhra Pradesh High Court which had destroyed many judges' chambers,” Mr. Biju submitted.

A total of 20,377 cases of fire accidents were reported in the country during 2014, which caused injuries to 1,889 persons and 19,513 deaths. The cause wise analysis of fire accidents revealed that 18.3% of 20,377 fire accidents were reported in residential/dwelling buildings. Maximum cases of fire accidents were reported in Maharashtra (4805 out of 20,337), accounting for 23.6% of total such cases.

The court asked the Centre to respond by April 9, the next date of hearing.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 9:25:01 AM |

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