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Gujarat High Court Takes Suo Motu Cognisance Following Fatal Fire at Rajkot Amusement Park

The Gujarat High Court has taken suo motu cognisance of a devastating fire at a Rajkot amusement park/gaming zone that claimed at least 27 lives, including children. A special bench of Justices Biren Vaishnav and Devan Desai, convening on Sunday, requested a report from the state government and municipal corporations on the legal basis for the operation of such gaming zones and recreational facilities.

The court, citing media reports, expressed shock at the incident, calling it a “man-made disaster.” It noted that the Rajkot gaming zone might have exploited loopholes in the Gujarat Comprehensive General Development Control Regulations (GDCR), leading to illegal recreational activities. These zones reportedly operated without necessary approvals and fire safety compliance, with some structures made from inflammable materials like petrol, tyres, and fibreglass sheets. Similar unauthorised zones were also observed in Ahmedabad.

The Bench directed the registry to register the suo motu cognisance as a public interest litigation (PIL) and set the next hearing for May 27. Meanwhile, a panel of advocates was instructed to clarify the legal provisions under which these zones operated. The court also requested details on the issuance and compliance with licenses and fire safety regulations.

Additionally, advocate Amit Panchal submitted an application urging the court to demand an explanation from state authorities on how the TRP gaming zone operated without the requisite permissions and licenses.

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