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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Cannot frame policy for street vendors during Covid-19 pandemic: Maharashtra govt to Bombay HC

“The street vendors are an unauthorised sector and there is no mechanism to regulate them and there is no policy presently contemplated to permit them to sell their products/food in the present scenario of outbreak of Covid-19,” Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni said.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai | Updated: July 8, 2020 3:38:36 am
Maharashtra government, Bombay HC, Maharashtra govt on street vebdors, Street vendors policy, Maharashtra covid cases, The state submitted that it was planning to open hotels from non-containment zones in a staggered manner, however, it could not allow street vendors yet. (File)

The state government Tuesday said it had no intention to allow street vendors to resume business in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

A division bench of Justices A A Sayed and M S Karnik Tuesday heard, through video-conferencing, a public interest litigation (PIL) by one Manoj Jalamchand Oswal raising concerns about street vendors, selling food items, toys and clothes among other things, being without income during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni submitted that the state government does not have a policy for street vendors and it was not contemplating to frame any such policy during the Covid-19 pandemic. “The street vendors are an unauthorised sector and there is no mechanism to regulate them and there is no policy presently contemplated to permit them to sell their products/food in the present scenario of outbreak of Covid-19,” AG Kumbhakoni said.

On June 19, while hearing a plea raising issues of street vendors in financial distress, the High Court had asked the state government to frame a policy to enable street vendors earn their livelihood during the lockdown. The court had granted the state two weeks to respond.

Oswal, through advocate Ashish Verma, had then argued that since hotels and restaurants were allowed to operate, the street vendors should also be permitted to resume their business activities. The court had said the petitioner could not equate them with street vendors.

The state submitted that it was planning to open hotels from non-containment zones in a staggered manner, however, it could not allow street vendors yet.

After hearing submissions made by AG Kumbhakoni, the court Tuesday directed the state government to file a detailed reply as to why it could not frame a policy for street vendors and posted the case for July 21.

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