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Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Nehru Place is like a slum, says Delhi High Court hearing plea on street vendors

The bench said that the rights of vendors should not infringe upon the rights of citizens of the city and other shopkeepers in the market. However, the court also clarified that it was not against street hawking but said that the rights have to be balanced.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: October 26, 2021 11:50:18 am
Outside Nehru Place (Express Photo/Abhinav Saha)

The condition of Nehru Place, a market which was developed primarily for selling of computer hardware and related material in south Delhi, is “like a slum”, said the Delhi High Court, observing that people have a right for free access to market areas and demand a clean, hygienic and safe environment there.

The court on Monday said that the number of vendors has to be determined keeping in mind the provisions of the master plan and other laws. If the master plan says that there should be 3-4 vending sites for every 10 shops then it should be limited to that, said the court.

“The provisions of the Act [Street Vendors Act, 2014) and the way the town vending committees have been constituted, that itself raises some very fundamental issues. Today TVCs have more than 50 percent representation of the vendors, how can you be the judge in your own cause? They will say ‘yes we should have more and more’. Who is looking after the aspect of safety, security, fire, pedestrian ways, hygiene, law and order,” said the division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh, during the hearing of a matter related to street vendors.

The court further said that we are talking of developing the city into a city like London or any other big city in another decade but “how will we achieve that.” “Where is the planning? What happens to the planning aspect,” it added.

The bench also said that the rights of vendors should not infringe upon the rights of citizens of the city and other shopkeepers in the market. “We should not be facing that kind of situation. You go to Connaught Place, it is difficult to walk in the walkways,” the court said further.

However, the court also clarified that it was not against street hawking but said that the rights have to be balanced. “We are not against streek hawking. We ourselves go and buy fruits and other stuff from them. All of us do that. They are serving a purpose. We are not for a moment suggesting that they are bad people or anything. They are poor people maintaining a livelihood. We all have grown up in that environment. It is not that we have only driven in our cars to a mall to buy our provisions,” said the court.

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