HC questions licences to restaurants in Hauz Khas Village

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Monday asked South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) how licences could be issued for restaurants in Hauz Khas Village in violation of building by-laws and the master plan.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar, noting that over 100 restaurants are “running neck to neck in that small area”, slammed authorities for permitting conversion of residential buildings into commercial ones without following the building bye-laws and the master plan requirements.

The bench questioned conversion of residential building into commercial building and asked whether master plan permits it.

“More than 100 restaurants are running neck to neck in that small area in violation of building bye-laws and the master plan. Restaurants are located one on top of another,” it said, asking the Delhi Police, Fire Services Department and the SDMC to file affidavits on what was the permissible use of the properties where the restaurants were located.

The bench also questioned SDMC for giving licenses to eating joints without approval from the Fire Department.

The court was hearing two PILs claiming illegal constructions and encroachments in Hauz Khas Village. Earlier, it had asked authorities to ensure strict enforcement of law in the area.

Hauz Khas Village — a hub of restaurants, pubs, art galleries and fashion studios — in south Delhi came under the scanner of the High Court after PILs said that a number of restaurants were running illegally, bars serving liquor without licence and no safety norms were being followed by them.

There is gross violation of emergency exit, according to the pleas. In all, 120 restaurants and pubs have come up in the area in the past 10 years without any building plan approval from the SDMC, said the pleas, seeking a complete ban on pubs and bars running illegally in the village.

The court now posted the matter for August 2.

–IANS

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