HC tells cops, civic body to evict hawkers from Munirka market
The Delhi high court on Friday directed the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and Delhi Police to ensure that no hawking takes place in Munirka Village’s Rama furniture market, and reminded the agencies that it was their bounden duty to keep the road or pedestrian zone free of encroachments.
“If it is a no hawking, no vending zone, then you have to remove them (hawkers). The executive engineer and the SHO (station house officer) should personally ensure that there are no encroachments..If you have to fence the area, you put up a board of “no hawking, no vending”, ” a bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said.
“In our view, it is the bounden duty of the municipal corporation and the Delhi Police to ensure that no encroachment takes place on the road or pedestrian zone,” the bench said.
The court was hearing a petition by Munirka Village residents’ welfare association which said hawkers have illegally occupied the road and rampant encroachments are taking place on public road and pedestrian zones in and around Munirka Village and near the Munirka Metro station.
The court observed that hawkers cannot continue to sell their wares from a “no squatting” zone without the connivance of municipal officials.
“These people are keeping everyone happy. There is a hafta (protection money) being paid by all of them (hawkers)… It does not happen without that,” the court said.
Appearing for the petitioner RWA, advocate Meenakshi Kalra said these encroachments are also taking place around Rama furniture market and, despite repeated requests and representations to the authorities, no action has been taken against the encroachers. Kalra also said all hawkers have also drawn illegal power cables from the metro station premises.
On being informed by power discom BSES’s counsel that they have undertaken a survey and booked four people for power theft on September 8, the court said it was not satisfied with the action taken and remarked that the authority has only done a “window dressing exercise”.
“Without their (BSES officials) connivance, it would not be possible for anyone to regularly tap into the electricity lines illegally in broad daylight,” the court said.
It asked the power company to ensure that no electricity theft takes place in the area.
Advocate Beenashaw N Soni, appearing for SDMC, said the corporation has been taking action from time to time but hawkers return once the action is completed. She also said the area is a “no hawking” zone and no tehbazari licences (hawker licences) have been granted and once the hawkers have been removed, it is the duty of the police to enforce that they do not return.
However, the court said both authorities should ensure that such an encroachment does not happen. It asked the authorities to file a status report and photographs of cleared up roads on the next date of hearing.