The draft of these regulations — that was published on February 27, 2009 — has yet to be given the force of law.
The fire at the Dreams Mall Sunrise Hospital, which claimed 11 lives on Friday, prompted Mumbai advocate Abha Singh to say she plans to now seek an urgent hearing, next Tuesday, of a public interest litigation (PIL) she had filed in 2018 for directions to the state to enforce the regulations.
The proposed regulations deal with the right to life of people under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Further, under Section 46 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act of 1966, any notice of draft notification has a statutory force and needs outright implementation, she said, adding, it cannot remain in “cold storage” for years.
In her petition, Abha Singh has argued that several acts of man-made disasters, including the attack on Mumbai on November 26, 2008 took place.
In its aftermath, on February 27, 2009, the government of Maharashtra, urban development department, issued Draft Special Regulations for Building Vulnerable to man-made disasters.
These Draft Special Regulations were to be applicable to buildings vulnerable to man-made disasters like fire and terrorist attacks.
They apply to assembly buildings, institutional, educational buildings as well as shopping malls and hotels.
These regulations require that open spaces with a safe perimeter should be provided for such buildings.
The marginal open spaces should be provided as per the law.
These buildings should also be provided with control rooms to deal with emergencies.
Further adequate space for manoeuvring of fire engines should be provided as per the National Building Code of India.
Singh said by keeping the rules pending for over 12 years, the government of Maharashtra has violated Section 10 of the Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfer and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act of 2005, which mandates that any decision on a matter should be taken within a period of 90 days.