"For God's Sake" Make Street Vending Plan: Delhi High Court To Civic Body

The Delhi high court also directed Delhi Police to positively take steps on installation of CCTV cameras at Chandni Chowk area before February 28.

'For God's Sake' Make Street Vending Plan: Delhi High Court To Civic Body

The court was hearing a plea by Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal in Delhi. (File)

New Delhi:

Anybody encroaching upon public space must be removed and it cannot be permitted that the whole pavements in markets are encroached leaving no space for people to walk, the Delhi High Court on Monday said, asking the municipal corporation to prepare a street vending plan "for god's sake".

The high court also directed Delhi Police to positively take steps on installation of CCTV cameras at Chandni Chowk area before February 28, failing which the Commissioner of Delhi Police shall remain present before it.

"We have issued repeated directions it is falling on deaf ears. You are not even taking steps equal to a little finger to do anything. We are compelled to pass such orders since nothing is happening. After this order, now even these officers will wake up," a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said.

The court was hearing a plea by Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal seeking direction to the authorities to remove illegal hawkers and vendors from the no-hawking and no-squatting area in Chandni Chowk, which has recently undergone redevelopment.

Regarding encroachment by hawkers and vendors in the area, the bench said photographs show these people are not leaving any space for people to walk and the whole pavements are covered and asked who will the people walk?

"Anybody and everybody who is encroaching upon must be removed, our directions are very clear. We are not asking you to carve out any exception for the members of the petitioner association. You (North MCD) are not understanding the problem. If you take up a (street vending) plan, this situation can be defused. So first set the ball rolling and formulate a plan," the bench said.

The bench said it was trying to fill up a void which is there in the law, Street Vendors Act, and added that it does not want all these poor people to be driven away but things have to be done in a proper manner with a plan.

"This can't be permitted that the whole pavement is covered with encroachers making it impossible for people to walk. Please, please for God's sake do the planning and do not make communications at the last moment," the bench said, adding that North MCD does not seem in any urgency to formulate a plan so that hawking activity could be organised.

"All of you are making complete mess on this law, I don't know what is happening," Justice Sanghi said, while listing the issue of removal of illegal hawkers on January 20.

The court directed that experts be nominated from Shahjanabad Redevelopment Corporation, Delhi School of Planning and IIT Delhi immediately without any delay in the matter relating to preparation of street vending plan.

It also asked Delhi Police to take steps for removal of encroachers and illegal vendors from the area and directed the police and North MCD to continue with their anti-encroachment drive.

During the hearing, the counsel for North MCD informed the court that an order has been passed constituting committees in each of the zones and communications have been sent to all expert panels in relation to preparation of street vending plan.

Senior advocate Sanjeev Ralli, representing the petitioner, submitted that despite repeated directions of the court, Delhi Police has not yet installed 330 CCTV cameras in the area to check encroachment in the area and pathways and this has been the casual approach of the authorities.

The court had earlier observed that there was no executive or political will to remove illegal hawkers and vendors from streets and barring Lutyens' Delhi, there was no place in the city which was clear from unauthorised squatters.

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