The Delhi High Court on Thursday mandated that coaching centres with more than 20 students relocate from residential areas to commercial premises to ensure student safety and compliance with fire safety regulations.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, responding to a petition filed by the Coaching Federation of India, expressed grave concerns over the safety risks posed to students attending coaching centres situated in residential buildings lacking essential safety infrastructure such as two staircases.

During the hearing, the bench emphasised the necessity for coaching centres with sizable student populations to operate from commercial buildings rather than residential ones.

“There must be hundreds of students attending your classes. You should not be in a residential building. Move to a commercial building,” the bench orally remarked.

The court underscored the imperative of safeguarding the lives of students, asserting that coaching centres should not compromise on safety standards.


The petition challenged the categorisation of coaching centres as “educational buildings” under the Unified Building Bye Laws-2016 (UBBL-2016), following the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) notification in February 2020.

Advocate Rajeshwari Hariharan, representing the petitioner, argued that this classification subjected coaching centres to stringent fire safety regulations, hindering their operation in existing residential structures.

In response, the court directed the petition to be listed for further hearing before another division bench specialising in fire safety issues concerning coaching centres.

The court refrained from staying the 2020 notification, emphasising the paramount importance of public safety.

The petitioner’s counsel highlighted the disparity between coaching centres and educational institutes, asserting that coaching centres primarily offer preparatory courses and do not confer degrees or diplomas upon completion.

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The petition contends that the notification is arbitrary and violates constitutional provisions, including Article 13(2), Article 19(1)(g), and Article 14, by imposing ambiguous regulations without considering the Master Plan for Delhi (MPD)-2021 and the National Building Code (NBC)-2016.

While the coaching centres expressed willingness to comply with fire safety norms and undergo audits, the DDA’s counsel mentioned the impending release of MPD-2041, which is expected to address these concerns comprehensively.