Decided on November 28,1990

NDMC Appellant
The Statesman Ltd. Respondents


- (1.)On 24.10.89, this Court made an order in the civil appeal holding
"The order dated 24.4.89 of the High Court requires to be and is hereby set aside. However we keep this appeal pending for such final orders and directions as may become necessary to be issued. In the meanwhile, we permit Respondents 1 and 2 to effect such rectifications to the plan in regard to the Refuge-areas as may be necessary in the light of the observations in this order. The refuge-areas could be located in each of the floors separately, provided that it could be shown to the satisfaction of the NDMC that such a measure would better promote fire safety in the building and, provided further, that they are located on external walls "by cantilever projection or in any other manner" abutting a vacant space from which rescue operations are rendered possible. If such rectifications to the plans are made and submitted within three weeks from today the NDMC will consider and decide the question of according sanction to the plans in the light of the observations in this order and - without insisting upon any fresh clearance from CUAC or the Chief Fire Officer - within 3 weeks thereafter and report to this Court the decision taken upon such reconstruction.

This appeal shall be kept pending and be taken up for final disposal after the submission of the report from the NDMC in this behalf. If respondents 1 and 2 are aggrieved by such fresh decision of the NDMC, those grievance shall be considered in the further proceedings in the appeal.
The civil appeal was kept pending awaiting the steps to be taken in terms of the directions by the New Delhi Municipal Committee - appellant herein. As no action was taken by the appellant and the Registry of this Court also kept quiet and the matter came to our notice otherwise, we directed listing of the matter today.
(2.)Counsel for the appellant-Committee states that given a little more time steps as envisaged in the order of 24.10.89 would be taken. That does not at all relate to the relevant point which arises for consideration. The failure of the appellant to comply with the directions and the consequent delay in disposal of the appeal and the prejudice that may have been caused to the respondents following the appellant's failure to act are the matters which require attention to be bestowed.
(3.)We are of the prima facie view that the gross negligence and indifference shown in the matter of compliance with the directions of this Court dated 24.10.89 require a serious view to be taken and action for contempt be taken and considering of a claim for damages to the respondents be also examined.

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