According to Rule 27 of the Delhi Fire Service Rules 2010, which classifies any structure over 15 metres in height as a highrise, the Supreme Court has granted an exception for projects that are up to 17.5 metres tall with stilts. The 15-meter limit would apply to structures without stilts, according to a bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and V. Ramasubramanian, while those with stilts may reach a maximum height of 17.5 metres before being considered highrise structures.
The Fire Department cannot complain about structures taller than 15 metres, although structures on stilts are invalid. Senior Attorney and President of the Supreme Court Bar Association Vikas Singh filed a petition in a Defence Colony housing development. Due to the project’s 16-meter height with stilts and the Delhi Fire Department’s refusal to provide approval for the same, there was uncertainty surrounding it. After the Delhi High Court rejected his plea, Singh preferred an appeal in the Supreme Court.
The primary contention put forth by Senior Advocate Nidhesh Gupta appearing for Singh was that the Delhi Master Plan 2021 after amendments, allows buildings that are 17.5 meters with stilts to be exempted from the category of high-rise and that the Delhi Fire Service Rules (DSFE Rules) was not in conformity with the master plan. The Apex court agreed and held that under Rule 27 of the DFSE 2010, 15 meters would now mean 17.5 meters with stilts.