The Delhi High Court in its recent judgment termed Hauz Khas Village as “ticking time bomb” and was shocked to observe how civic agencies have turned a blind eye to violation of laws and safety measures by the restaurants and cafes in the area. The court in the case of Pankaj Sharma v South Delhi Municipal Corporation also observed that South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Delhi Police and Delhi Fire Services etc. allowed the commercialization and growth of business which in turn has resulted into public nuisance and health hazard.
The filed petition alleged that all the restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs are in gross violation of the provisions of many of the acts such as Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, Delhi Police Act, 1978, Delhi Fire Safety Act, 2007 etc. It was also contrary to the Article 21 of the Constitution with regard to imperiling public safety and infringing the constitutional rights. In addition, it was also pleaded that some of the restaurants are functioning in prohibited areas like monuments etc.
The court noted the streets out there are not wide enough for a fire tender to move easily in case of emergency and only five restaurants have that clearance. Apart from this, civic bodies granted licenses to restaurants without checking the ground realities and the sewage system out there was not enough to take the load from the bathrooms and kitchen of various restaurants and pubs.
The court expressing serious concern highlighted the affidavit of Deputy Commissioner of Police and pointed out, during a mock drill for a terrorist attack, the NSG commandos could not reach the destination within the village.
Hence, in its order the court directed Delhi Jal Board to inspect water supply (both in residential and commercial) and bore wells in Hauz Khas Village which may have been dug in these properties within three days.
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