Slamming the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for failing to deal with unauthorised hawkers, a division bench of the Bombay high court said it could learn how to deal with the menace from states such as Gujarat.
“Ask your [staff] to go to other states and find out what they have done [to prevent illegal hawking],” said justice PB Majmudar, who was part of the division bench hearing the case. Justice Amjad Sayed was the other judge.
Justice Majmudar said Gujarat faced a similar problem, but tackled it by placing boulders on the streets, blocking out unauthorised hawkers.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Vile Parle Kelawani Mandal (VPKM) which runs around 40 educational institutions. VPKM wanted the BMC to take action against illegal hawkers outside its institutions.
VPKM counsels VA Thorat and Jamshed Mistry pointed out there were even paan-beedi shops outside the institutes but no action had been taken against them. “It is an eye wash…. [The hawkers] are near schools and colleges and children are buying paan-beedi. That is why we are more concerned,” said Justice Majumdar. “We will send all [the hawkers] to [the civic] commissioner’s bungalow. First to the commissioner’s bungalow and then to the mayor’s bungalow. They can sit outside and hawk.”
The BMC counsel Komal Punjabi admitted that the menace was prevalent across the city, adding that the hawkers would be shifted once the BMC finalised the new hawking policy. The court suggested that the BMC start a phase-wise plan for implementation of the policy and that action be taken against ward officers who fail to check unauthorised hawkers. The court asked the BMC to file an affidavit by March 28, giving details of hawkers in Juhu. The BMC has registered first information reports against nine people.