Check DLF Mall For Unauthorised Kiosks: HC To DDA
The Delhi High Court (HC) on December 12 asked the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to conduct an inspection of the DLF Place mall to ascertain if the kiosks inside it posed a risk to public health or safety. DLF Place is a popular mall, lying the south of the national capital.
The HC also said that the authority did not require a court order to perform its job.
"You don't need a court order to do your job. Go and inspect the second mall also," a Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and C Hari Shankar said.
The court had earlier ordered an inspection of the Select City Walk mall, situated adjacent to the DLF Place, for the same purpose. When the court asked the DDA about the inspection of the second mall, it was informed that the Bench had earlier asked it to inspect only one mall.
The HC also asked the DDA to file an affidavit on the inspection conducted at the Select City Walk mall, and listed the matter for further hearing on April 18 next year.
The counsel for Select City Walk argued that the petition was filed without any verification of facts and a fishing inquiry was being done, and claimed that the kiosks in the open areas were not unauthorised.
The court was hearing a public-interest litigation, alleging that commercial activities inside the open areas of the two malls could pose a risk to public safety in case of a fire or an earthquake.
The Bench had earlier observed that if there were any illegal commercial activities blocking the entry or exit points in the malls, it could lead to a situation such as the 1997 Uphaar tragedy which had claimed 59 lives.
The petition has alleged that the two malls have "not adhered to the fire safety rules and national building codes" which mandate that there be no encroachment of common areas, exits, terraces and other open areas.
The allegations have been refuted by both the malls in their respective replies to the PIL.
The stand of the malls has been supported by the Delhi Fire Services which said that it had inspected the premises of both malls on August 28 on the high court's direction, and had found that the fire prevention and safety measures were being maintained by them.
The police, in its reply, had said that while it was not empowered to remove or demolish any unauthorised encroachment inside the malls, it would provide adequate assistance to the civic agencies which would undertake such an exercise.
The Select Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, owner of Select City Walk, in its reply had said that the kiosks in the open areas were neither unauthorised nor a misuse, and no risk was caused to the public health or safety by them.
DLF, which runs the other mall, had told the court that there had been no violation of rules on its part, and urged the Bench to dismiss the PIL.
The petitioner, advocate Jeetender Gupta, has sought directions to the authorities to remove or demolish the encroachments, obstructions or alterations in the open or common areas, entries and exits.
With inputs from Housing News