The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) won a major legal battle with the Delhi high court ruling that the vending committee has no power to stay its order evicting hawkers, vendors or squatters.
The civic agency moved the court saying the committee was a major hurdle in its crackdown on illegal hawking in areas manned by it, mainly central Delhi and other posh areas.
The vending committee formed earlier by the Supreme Court comprises representatives of municipal authority, traffic, police, public land owning authority, traders' association and RWAs. The court reminded the committee that its job was only to identify vending sites and determine eligibility/priority of eligible hawkers.
Justice R.S. Endlaw, while allowing the NDMC's appeal on Friday against some hawkers who got relief from the vending committee, was of the view that the vending committee was only an "administrative or recommendatory body" and was clearly exceeding its duty vested by the Supreme Court.
"The observations in the orders of the Supreme Court that the said bodies were intended to provide a complete mechanism for redressal of all grievances of the hawkers/squatters/vendors cannot be read to be vesting the said bodies with the power of passing any interim orders," said the judge.
The high court said by staying NDMC orders in such illegal manner, "hawkers cannot be allowed to choke the streets leaving hardly any space for pedestrian or vehicular movement…it is the NDMC which will decide how to maintain the streets".
"Vending Committee under the said power is not found to be entitled to adjudicate if a person who till now has not been found eligible under the Policy for a vending site, be allowed to obstruct the street or not or whether the NDMC is entitled to remove him or not. Admittedly, the Vending Committee or the Appellate Authority are not Courts. It is only Courts which can be said to be enjoying power to issue interim orders/directions", said the judge.