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Over 40 Khan Market restaurants are fire traps, seal them: HC


Over 40 restaurants in the popular Delhi hub face closure after the Delhi High Courts termed them as ‘fire traps’.

Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw gave the shop owners a week’s time to furnish no-objection certificates (NOCs) from Delhi Fire Department or be prepared for sealing. “If you yourself say they are fire traps, close the restaurants. Why didn’ t you obtain NOC from fire department? These are private properties, why should NDMC provide fire safety?” the bench remarked when Khan Market Welfare Association claimed the shops would be hazardous until New Delhi Municipal Council redevelops the market.

Interestingly, the association had approached the court for an early hearing on the ground that the eateries are at risk from fire. The HC’s pointed query on NOCs caught the petitioners and their counsel off-guard with the latter being unable to give a statement to court that all commercial establishments, including restaurants on first floor and above, have valid fire and seating arrangement NOCs.


The court asked the association to explain under which legal provision they were seeking directions to NDMC for investing in private property, and also why the owners did not pool in resources themselves to redevelop the market.

The petitioners were unable prove that all commercial establishments, including restaurants on the first floor and above, have valid fire & seating arrangement NOCs.

Appearing for NDMC, standing counsel Anil Grover told court that the owners of first-floor properties, not the council, should be held responsible for ensuring fire safety. “Since it is a private market, owned by private persons, NDMC has no obligation to spend on (its) redevelopment. Fire safety is their personal responsibility and they should seek it from DFS and police,” Grover argued.

In their plea, the association alleged that NDMC had not complied with orders to redevelop the market given during a meeting with the urban development minister on March 16, 2011. They also argued that it had failed to implement the fire safety, sanitation and public health aspects of the redevelopment plan.

During the previous hearing in April, NDMC came under fire from the court for not filing an affidavit stating the time line for drawing up a detailed redevelopment plan of Khan Market and also implementing it. Justice Vibhu Bakhru had then summoned the secretary, NDMC, saying, “It is apparent that the officers of the council are not only lackadaisical but have also, apparently, failed to comply with the orders passed by this court.”

Source: Times of India

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