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Nehru Place Fire Incident | 'Abuse Of Process Of Law': Delhi High Court Refuses To Entertain Manushi Sangathan's Plea Challenging Mock Drill Report

Prateek Chakraverty
7 Feb 2022 10:22 AM GMT
Nehru Place Fire Incident | Abuse Of Process Of Law: Delhi High Court Refuses To Entertain Manushi Sangathans Plea Challenging Mock Drill Report
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The Delhi High Court today refused to entertain the writ petition filed by Manushi Sangathan, an organization representing 67 hawkers and vendors, challenging the mock drill report submitted by Delhi Fire Service in the suo moto case registered last year following a fire incident at a building in the Nehru Place market.The Bench comprising of Justice Manmohan and Justice Navin...

The Delhi High Court today refused to entertain the writ petition filed by Manushi Sangathan, an organization representing 67 hawkers and vendors, challenging the mock drill report submitted by Delhi Fire Service in the suo moto case registered last year following a fire incident at a building in the Nehru Place market.

The Bench comprising of Justice Manmohan and Justice Navin Chawla, which is already examining the matter in the suo moto case, chided the Petitioner, stating,

"You are committing an abuse of process by approaching this Court with multiple proceedings. You can't put fear of God in public authorities by filing by abuse of law".

The mock drill report stated that the time taken by various agencies in reaching the spot was too high thereby indicating that there were significant hindrances due to heavy pedestrian movement, heavy traffic, hawkers and parking problems. Accordingly, the report had recommended that the place may be made a hawker free zone.

In a writ petition filed separately, Manushi Sangathan submitted that the mock drill report is not credible inasmuch as on the date of the fire incident, the force arrived at Nehru Place District Centre in only 1 minute from leaving the fire station. Thus, it was alleged that the mock drill report is nothing but an attempt by the traders and various government bodies to exclude hawkers and street vendors from Nehru Place District Centre.

Justice Manmohan emphasized that the Institutions work in an unbiased manner. Filing multiple proceedings in a manner that abuses the law tends to create a wrong impression.

The Judge implored the Petitioner to repose more faith in the Judiciary and State Agencies. He suggested the Petitioner to write a letter expressing their concerns to the State agency instead of burdening the Court with multiple petitions.

"Daily we are hearing nearly 60 petitions of which some are gross abuse of law. This is one of them...You are disabling the Judiciary from functioning normally...If you continue to proceed in separate proceeding, the other proceeding will get stalled," the Bench further remarked.

Advocate Indira Unninayar thus withdrew the plea.

In the suo moto case, the Court had directed the Delhi Fire Services to conduct a mock drill in the Nehru Place Market, on a working day, for the purpose of identifying shortcomings for the future. Following which, it directed the Delhi Government and Police to earmark a lane for emergency services like ambulance and fire brigades, to ensure unobstructed movement for them.

It had also directed the DDA, Delhi Police and SDMC to ensure that the recommendations and suggestions given by the Delhi Fire Brigade are implemented at the earliest. The Court had also directed the Delhi Police and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to implement no hawking and vending policy on a daily basis.

Case Title: Manushi Sangathan v. Delhi Fire Service

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 98

Case No.: WP(C) 2172/2022

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