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HC raps Delhi govt on poor implementation of Street Vendors Act: ‘Enough of politics, populism’

The court said a Town Vending Committee (TVC), which comprises representatives of street vendors, head of the municipal body and others, has to be formed in accordance with the law and it does not have to perform all functions on its own.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
October 29, 2021 6:38:26 pm
The court made the observations during the hearing of petitions related to street vending activities in Delhi. (File)

The Delhi High Court Friday asked the Delhi government to “get down to some real work” instead of focusing merely on “populism” and pulled it up for poor implementation of The Street Vendors Act in the national capital. Behave like a responsible government, it told the government.

“Please get down to some real work. Enough of politics, populism. Where is the plan? That is the first thing you have to come out with,” said the division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh after it was told that the authorities have not prepared a plan for street vending in the city as required by the 2014 law.

The court made the observations during the hearing of petitions related to street vending activities in Delhi. “Unfortunately, when it comes to implementation of good legislation, people concerned are not acting honestly in the spirit in which the Act has been framed. People are trying to score points, people are trying to advance their own political interests. It is for this reason you have not been able to make headway,” said the court.

It said a Town Vending Committee (TVC), which comprises representatives of street vendors, head of the municipal body and others, has to be formed in accordance with the law and it does not have to perform all functions on its own. This committee is expected to have persons with requisite knowledge, the court added.

“The administrators should be ultimately able to take the decision. It cannot be that they are sitting there helplessly seeing the city get ruined,” said the bench, adding the number of members representing street vendors in the TVC cannot be more than 40%.

The court said the TVC has to recommend the plan which will guide them in all other actions to be carried out under the law pertaining to street vending. “There will be something you will not compromise on like the right of people to walk in market areas, hygiene, security; all these aspects will have to be gone into by planning. All those guidelines will have to be laid down. After this is done, the TVC will undertake its other activities,” said the bench, adding that planning has to be done by experts.

The court in the order directed the government to file a counter affidavit and in it justify the constitution of the TVC of New Delhi Municipal Council, particularly the nomination of non-government members, after it was told that major markets have no representation in it.

“We will not mince our words. Don’t play politics. Behave like a responsible government. We will not countenance this. We mean business. You have not acted sincerely while making this TVC. Certainly not. You are constituting a TVC for the New Delhi area and you don’t include markets like Connaught Place, Sarojini Nagar,” said the court.

The Delhi government during the hearing argued that municipal bodies and police were misinterpreting court orders and due process should be followed in action related to street vendors. The court was told that correct facts have not been placed before it by the counsel representing the traders.

“Diwali time is the only time when they are going to make some money. No process is followed by police. Covid pandemic has broken the backs of people,” senior advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the state, submitted.

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