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Delhi govt to go easy on hawkers who don’t set up structures

The Delhi government licenses hawkers following a 2007 law, giving them a so-called “teh bazaar” (hawking) rights. Additional solicitor general AS Nadkarni said all hawkers must apply for permits under the scheme, and that constructions by even those who have permits will not be spared.

delhi Updated: May 22, 2018 08:57 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times
delhi,Hawkers,supreme Court
Hawkers who are mobile and leave for the day after doing business will not be targeted as part of the Capital’s anti-encroachment drive, the government told the Supreme Court.(HT Photo)

Hawkers who are mobile and leave for the day after doing business will not be targeted as part of the Capital’s anti-encroachment drive, the government told the Supreme Court on Monday, making “an exemption” on humanitarian grounds in its crackdown aimed at unclogging Delhi.

The declaration was made on May 18 after an association of hawkers sought protection from the top court, which is hearing a petition on illegal use of space in the city. Illegally parked cars, expanded shops and squatters are on the radar of a team of officials — the special task force (STF) — working under the Supreme Court’s oversight.

The bench, comprising justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta, accepted the government’s approach on the issue of hawkers.The crackdown will, however, target hawkers who have set up immovable structures.

The Delhi government licenses hawkers following a 2007 law, giving them a so-called “teh bazaar” (hawking) rights. Additional solicitor general AS Nadkarni said all hawkers must apply for permits under the scheme, and that constructions by even those who have permits will not be spared.

“Such constructions are illegal and are liable to be demolished,” Nadkarni said, to which the bench agreed.

Advocate ADN Rao, who is assisting the court in the matter, told HT that construction included temporary structures as well. “The whole idea is to stop the encroachment on pavements. But, hawkers with licences were given exemption from the point of human consideration,” he said.

The problem of hawkers taking up space is particularly acute in the city’s key markets, such as Lajpat Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, and Chandni Chowk, but is a source of livelihood for many who “play a vital role in the urban economy”, according to the 2007 street vendors protection law.

On a submission made by Rao, the top court clarified that its order would not have a bearing on a case pending before the Delhi high court, which is hearing a petition challenging the municipal corporation’s policy related to hawking.

During the hearing, attorney general KK Venugopal agreed to come back to the court with instructions on the issue of suspending officers who let encroachments continue.

First Published: May 21, 2018 23:54 IST