Bombay High Court Orders Removal Of Stack Parking Blocking Emergency Access

Bombay High Court Orders Removal Of Stack Parking Blocking Emergency Access

The court noted that the stack parking put up in the 13-storey Reserve Bank India Employees’ Ashish Cooperative Housing Society Ltd, Borivali West, undermined the safety of all residents and perhaps even passers-by.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, January 30, 2024, 09:56 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File

The relaxation in development rules cannot be allowed when it “adversely” affects safety, fire safety and public safety, observed the Bombay High Court while ordering the removal of a mechanised cantilevered car parking (stack parking) that blocked access to emergency services like ambulance and fire brigade. 

The court noted that the stack parking put up in the 13-storey Reserve Bank India Employees’ Ashish Cooperative Housing Society Ltd, Borivali West, undermined the safety of all residents and perhaps even passers-by.

A bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata remarked that no fire tender or ambulance can go past the stack parking in case of any emergency in the society. The order was passed on January 18, but the detailed order copy was made public on Tuesday. 

The HC was hearing a petition by ophthalmologist Rahul Jain, who runs an eye hospital on the ground floor of the building. Jain had challenged the approval by the BMC and the fire department of seven mechanised cantilever car parkings that leave no mandatory open space for emergency services. 

Jain said that the housing society contended that the stack parking was required as the developer put up two additional floors. The developer had later obtained approvals from the MCGM and the fire department.

Judges 'shocked' with fire department's reply

The judges expressed that they were “shocked” with the fire department’s reply that, in case of fire in the building, no fire engine would be required as the structure was less than 13 floors as it could be accessed from the main road. 

“There are many buildings in Mumbai especially in smaller and more crowded areas that are no more than ground and four floors. We dare say that this statement of the fire officer if communicated to anybody in the government, especially those who are about to seek votes in the next elections, would result in a very considerable perturbation,” the bench underlined.

 The judges questioned the relaxation of fire safety norms in the present Development Control and Promotion Regulations (DCPR), which include reduction in the number of stairwells in taller buildings, the reduction of the minimum width of those stairwells and that only one fire lane on either side of the building is required, noting that all these are continuously debated and are inexplicable. 

The DCPR grants powers to the BMC commissioner to grant special permission for modifications in specific cases, where a clearly demonstrable hardship is caused.

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