Your favourite roadside eatery —the dhaba that offers a quick bite when you need it most—may soon have to shut if its owner does not hold a MCD licence.
In a significant direction, Delhi High Court has asked the civic agency to crack the whip on all illegal eateries in the Capital and close them within a month.
Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra said: "It is directed that all dhabas on that road and for the matter throughout Delhi running without licence must be treated equally and all dhabas which are without license being run in municipal area must be closed down forthwith.
"The action of closure of these dhabas be taken within 30 days and an affidavit in this respect be filed in the court along with the names of all responsible officials of each area who are liable to take the necessary action," the order added.
The court's order came on a petition by a Rajiv Tyagi, a dhaba owner, who alleged the MCD was adopting a pick and choose policy while closing "illegal" dhabas in Mandaoli area of East Delhi. The civic agency had cracked down against only six while there were many other illegal dhabas in the area, he alleged
MCD said these six served non-vegetarian food whereas the others sold only vegetarian stuff.
Rejecting the contention, Justice Dhingra said: "No distinction can be made out on the ground that one dhaba is serving vegetarian food and the other is serving non-vegetarian food. The distinction can be drawn between licensed and unlicensed ones.
"At first instance, no dhaba should be allowed to run without a licence. There is no reason why these unauthorised dhabas, hawkers, road encroachers should keep encroaching on public land endangering public health by greasing palms of the concerned officials," the court observed.
"If the officials have little care about the health of public and about the encroachment of public land, none of these dhabas, hawkers would come up at the first instance," the order added.