The Supreme Court on Tuesday fixed December 26 deadline for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and New Delhi Municipal Council to finalise a complete list of hawking/non-hawking and squatting/non-squatting zones in the capital.
A Bench headed by Justice BP Singh, which took strong exception to the delay in finalisation of hawking/non-hawking and squatting/non-squatting zones, gave six weeks to the civic bodies to complete the whole exercise and file affidavits before the court.
The exercise would also cover over 330 weekly bazars, some of which are over a century old, permitted under a 1992 Supreme Court order.
The Bench said in case it was not done within the stipulated timeframe, the MCD Additional Commissioner Central Licensing would be responsible for the lapse and he would be held liable for contempt of court.
MCD counsel Sanjiv Sen assured the court that the exercise would be completed by December 26 deadline.
The court asked all the interested parties, including hawkers’ associations, traders’ associations, Residents’ Welfare Associations and Delhi Police to file their objections, if any, to the list prepared by the civic bodies by January 15 and fixed February six for further hearing.
The MCD has already submitted to the court a draft scheme according to which Vending Committees constituted in all the 134 MCD wards will be responsible for identifying the hawking/non-hawking, squatting/non-squatting sites/zones in consultation with traders’ associations, RWAs and Traffic Police.
The scheme once finalized and implemented, will rid the city of unauthorized hawkers and vendors before the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) counsel Prashant Bhushan demanded that the Vending Committees should have 25 per cent representation from vendors.
The Bench, which had on September 19 given permission to the MCD to go ahead with the survey of street vendors, expressed displeasure over the delay and pulled up the MCD for waste of time. The survey should have been conducted much earlier, the court said.
Sen told the court that the MCD has invited tenders from professional organizations for survey of hawkers/ squatters in Delhi and the tenders would be opened on November 17.
The survey is intended to collect personal particulars of each vendor/hawker/Squatter, nature of their trade, details about place or area and duration of vending/squatting/hawking besides certain other details.
Meanwhile, Hawkers Welfare Committee counsel M M Kashyap filed an affidavit objecting to NGOs registered overnight allegedly submitting tenders for conducting the survey. He sought extension of time for the survey by two months to enable the Committee, which has been in the field for over 19 years, to submit its tender.
The identification of hawking/non-hawking zones and the survey of street vendors/hawkers are being done with a view to implement the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, 2004 according to which there were a total of one crore street vendors in the country.
The Policy recognized their fundamental right to carry on the trade or business of their choice subject to proper regulation. As per the policy, Urban vending is not only a source of employment but also provides affordable services to the majority of urban population.
However, the maximum number of authorized hawkers/squatters can not exceed 2.5 of the total population of a city.
The court took strong exception to MANUSHI’s Madhu Kishwar challenging it to visit Sewanagar area of the city where her organization was implementing a project for hawkers.