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Delhi High Court on Thursday (30th May, 2019) sought response from Delhi Government, the Fire Department and Delhi Police on a plea seeking regular Fire Safety Audit in the coaching centers in and around the Capital City, Delhi. The court sought response in the matter of Madhumita Kothari Advocate v Government of NCT of Delhi and Ors.

The petitioner submitted that she had personally visited the coaching centers in Laxmi Nagar, Satya Niketan, around Delhi University North Campus, around JNU, In front of Delhi IIT, Mehrauli, Connaught Place, Kalka Ji, Govind Puri, Sant Nagar etc.

The petitioner contended that most of these coaching centers have extremely narrow stairways and very little illumination leading to these establishments. Many of them did not have an alternative emergency exit plan or route. Most of them did not fire safety devices like fire extinguishers, sprinklers etc, installed in their premises.

The petitioner also mentioned that the Fire Service authorities have not fulfilled their obligations of conducting periodic audit of these coaching centers to ensure installation and maintenance of Fire Safety devices, emergency exit plans and routes. The govt. and concerned dept./authorities have allowed Private Commercial Coaching Centers to function in illegally constructed floors of buildings, in unauthorized constructions, on roof tops with corrugated sheets and inflammable covers, on floors above restaurants which are very susceptible to catching fire with the slightest negligence; all these acts are risky and illegal.

The petitioner stated that the immediate triggering cause for this petition was the death of 21 students in Surat coaching center  due to the fire and lack of fire safety devices and no exit paths. The petitioner said that this is the replicated conditions in most of Delhi’s private coaching centers and the concerned authorities of the State are oblivious and complacent about taking proper actions.

-India Legal Bureau

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