New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday took suo motu cognisance on the fire tragedy in Hotel Arpit Palace in Karol Bagh here which killed 17 people and asked the Delhi government and police to respond to charges of illegality.
Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V.A. Kameswar Rao also issued notice to the Fire department, North Delhi Municipal Corporation and Hotel Arpit Palace.
The court asked them to say whether the hotel was functioning in violation of licensing norms. The matter was listed for further hearing on August 5.
At least 17 people were killed when a major fire engulfed the hotel in the commercial-cum-residential district of Karol Bagh before dawn on February 12.
The court initiated its own proceedings after two men — Tushar Sahdev and Raman Kalra — wrote a letter to the court raising the loopholes in the system and urged the court to take cognisance of the incident.
“Hotel Arpit Palace had taken licence to operate as a guest house but was running as a hotel with 45 rooms and several restaurants. An additional fourth floor was added illegally. Any hotel building should have more than one entry/exit point but this one had a single entry/exit point,” the letter said.
The letter also said that as per the Masterplan, there must be a wide road in front of the building but there was a narrow road in this case.
The letter was written a day after the incident. The court on February 13 sent the letter to the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) committee to decide if was a case fit enough to be treated as a public suit.