AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Thursday directed the state government to place before it its short-term and long-term plans for effective enforcement of fire safety rules in a phased manner so that adequate measures are taken to save the lives of citizens by avoiding laxity in enforcing the law.

The HC was hearing the PIL filed by petitioner-advocate Amit Panchal, demanding proper implementation of the Fire Safety Act and full compliance with directions issued by the court over the last two decades.

The PIL was filed after a fire claimed the lives of eight Covid-19 patients at Shrey Hospital in Ahmedabad in August 2020.

The bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice H M Prachchhak asked the petitioner to point out how court orders have been either not complied with or partially complied with, so the court can issue appropriate directions to the authorities. The judges made it clear that they would not hear any further arguments on this issue, which has been debated for nearly a year. The court said the reports filed till do not make it clear how many court directions have been complied with and to what extent.

Panchal drew the court’s attention to various directions issued for implementation of fire safety rules since 2001.

He insisted that the court continue monitoring the work undertaken by the authorities to comply with orders and expressed a grievance that despite repeated orders the situation does not improve.

Advocate general Kamal Trivedi cited figures of buildings in municipality areas to show a marked improvement in implementation of fire safety rules.

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