Millennium Post

Plea alleges vendors thrown out of hawking zones

Congress leader Ajay Maken and two NGOs on Friday moved the Delhi high court, alleging that municipal bodies of central and south Delhi were “throwing out” street vendors from hawking zones since Thursday, despite a court order protecting them from such action.

Maken and the NGOs said the High Court on October 5 had ruled its September 9 order that no street vendor should be evicted from city roads without due process of law, shall not be applicable on non-hawking zones. They contended that under the garb of this order, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) have started throwing out people even from hawking zones such as Rajiv Chowk, Indira Chowk and Lajpat Nagar.

The pleas were listed before a Bench of justices Indira Bannerjee and VK Rao, which did not pass any interim direction to the authorities, saying there was already an order, which held that street vendors cannot sell wares in non-hawking zones identified under earlier street vending schemes.

The Bench said passing another order, as sought by the applicants, would not ensure compliance of the same and asked the authorities to file their reply to the pleas and listed the matter for hearing on October 19. The applicants have sought that NDMC and other municipal corporations be restrained from taking any coercive action against street vendors in any area, which has not been declared as a ‘no-vending zone’ under the earlier scheme.

The applicants’ lawyers, Kirti Uppal and Rakesh Khanna, told the court that as per a 2012 list of vending zones in NDMC areas, Rajiv Chowk and Indira Chowk were squatting or hawking zones.

They said that street vendors were being removed even from Palika Bazaar where they have been selling their wares for the last several decades.

NDMC, represented by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, said it had removed only 60 persons from its area and that too as per orders of another bench of the high court.

The high court on October 5 had modified its September 9 order saying the aspect of non-squatting zones were not inconsistent with the 2014 Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending Act which prohibits vending activities in non-vending areas.

The court noted that though the Act came into force on May 1, 2014, “there were several lapses in proper implementation of its provisions and consequently, no vending zones have not yet been declared”.

It had also expressed a prima facie view that there can only be a scheme for entire Delhi, but had sought replies from Delhi government, NDMC and other corporations on whether there can be more than one scheme under the Act.
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