Rajasthan HC Issues Notice On Plea To Curb The Menace Of Illegally Operating Coaching Institutes [Read Petition]
A Public Interest Litigation has been filed before the Jaipur bench of the Rajasthan High Court, concerned by widespread violation of building norms and fire safety standards in various coaching institutes, run across the Jaipur city.
A Division Bench of Justices Ravindra Bhat and Inderjeet Singh today issued notices to State Of Rajasthan, Jaipur Development Authority, Director Local Bodies, Chief Fire Officer, Rajasthan Coaching Institute Association on the petition.
The petition has been filed by 'Jawab Do Sarkar', a proprietorship of one Gyanesh Kumar Sharma, in light of the recent fire accident at a coaching institute in Surat, Gujarat wherein 23 students were killed, due to lack of fire safety standards maintenance in the building.
The PIL titled "Jawab Do Sarkar v. State of Rajasthan & Ors." pleads the court to direct the state government and all private coaching institutes to maintain fire safety standards in coaching premises. It further seeks directions to constitute a Special Investigation Team to conduct periodical inspections at these sites apart from directing the police and fire departments to conduct inspections.
The Petitioner has submitted that the coaching industry is mushrooming in Jaipur in violation of building bye laws of the state government and the fire safety mechanism mandated by the Rajasthan Municipalities Act, 2009 (the Act). This posed serious threat to Right to life of thousands of students who studied at these centers and called upon the State under Article 38 of the Constitution apart from other legal provisions, to secure social order for public welfare.
He submits to have made various representations in this behalf before the Jaipur Development Authority and the Jaipur Municipal Corporation but, in vain. Accordingly, he was forced to prefer this petition and has relied upon forth mentioned grounds to support his case:
- That many residential areas in the city had been turned into high rise commercial complexes without obtaining commercial conversion permission or submitting approved type-design with appropriate fees. This was in gross violation of clause 6 of the New Unified Building Bye Laws of Rajasthan, 2017.
- That contrary to a lawful building plan of a commercial complex, these institutes did not have setbacks, parking facilities, common area facilities, FAR, ceiling etc. This was in gross violation of circular dated May 28, 2015 issued by Department of Urban Development and Housing, Government of Rajasthan to lay down standards for premises of a coaching institute.
- That Contrary to the decision of Rajasthan High Court in Ghasi Ram Saini v. State of Rajasthan wherein as many as 118 illegal coaching centers were removed from Jaipur, some centers were still operating in corner plots of residential areas where probability of accidents was much higher.
- That these institutes were operating in violation of fire safety standards, having no fire safety devices or clearly marked exits. In fact, they did not even have an emergency exit.
- That any structure above the height of 15 meters, whether residential or commercial, has to obtain Fire NOC from an Urban Local Body under the Act. Further, fire safety clearance certificates are to be renewed once every two years. However, these institutes were in violation of these norms as well.
- That the authority which was responsible under Section 255 of the Act to conduct regular audits and ensure that firefighting systems were well placed and functional had failed to fulfill its obligations.
Advocates Neha Gyamlani and Aditya Jain argued the matter for the petitioners.