In the absence of proper statutory framework, the Supreme Court has expressed helplessness in dealing with problems created by influx of the rural poor and unemployed to metro cities in search of livelihood.
"Certain broad facts cannot be lost sight of. Whatever power this court may have had, it possibly cannot, in the absence of a proper statutory framework, control the ever increasing population of this country," a bench of justice GS Singhvi and justice AK Ganguly said.
Faced with flooding of petitions by Delhi street vendors, it asked the government to bring in a law to regulate urban street vending by June 2011.
"This court cannot control the influx of people to different metro cities and towns in search of livelihood in the background of huge unemployment in this country," it said.
"There is very little scope for expanding the narrowing road spaces in the metropolitan cities and towns in India," it said.
Terming the problem "acute", it said: "On one hand there is an exodus of fleeting population to metro cities and towns in search of employment and on the other hand with ever-increasing population of cars and other vehicles in the same cities, the roads are choked to the brim posing great hazards to the interest of the general public."
In the midst of near chaos hawkers wanted to sell their goods to make a living, the SC said, adding, "It is difficult for this court to tackle this huge problem in the absence of a valid law. The nature of this problem defies a proper solution by this court by any judicially manageable standards."
The SC emphasised that a law was urgently needed to regulate the fundamental rights of hawking of urban street vendors, most of whom belonged to the unorganised sector.