Delhi HC asks coaching centres to state measures adopted for students' safety

Delhi HC asks coaching centres to state measures adopted for students' safety

New Delhi, Nov 23 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked coaching centres in the city to state the measures adopted by them to ensure the safety of students in their premises.

The court was hearing a case registered by it on its own by taking suo motu cognisance of a fire that broke out at a coaching centre in Mukherjee Nagar in June.

The lawyer representing an association of coaching centres-- which sought the review of an earlier order directing closure of those institutes that were not complying with the Master Plan for Delhi (MPD) -2021 norms-- assured that they did not intend to put the students to any 'risk' but it was not possible for them to comply with the MPD requirements, such as having two staircases, as they were operating from buildings already constructed in residential areas in a certain manner.

The association said it would comply with all safety requirements in the interest of students.

A bench of justices Yashwant Varma and Shalinder Kaur listed the matter for further hearing on November 28 and orally said, 'tell us what measures have you adopted for safety.' The high court has earlier ruled that 'fire safety is a must' and all coaching centres must either comply with their statutory requirements under the Delhi Master Plan, 2021, and other applicable regulations or face closure.

In a status report filed in the matter, Delhi Police had informed that of the 583 coaching institutes running in the national capital, only 67 have no-objection certificates (NOC) from the Delhi Fire Services.

Delhi Fire Services, in its status report, has said it conducted a survey of 461 coaching centres and found that the requisite fire preventive and safety measures, according to Delhi Fire Service Act and its rules, had not been adopted.

On June 16, the high court took cognisance of the fire at the Mukherjee Nagar coaching institute the previous day.

Taking note of a news report that showed students of the institute smashing windows and climbing down ropes in a desperate attempt to escape, the high court had asked the local authorities to file a status report.

A call about the fire was received at 12.27 pm and 11 water tenders were pressed into service. A few students suffered minor injuries while climbing down the building using ropes, according to officials.

A preliminary inquiry suggested that the fire started from an electricity meter board in the five-storey building, the officials said.

According to the police, around 250 students were attending classes at the building -- Bhandari House -- at the time. PTI ADS ZMN

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