The Bombay High Court Friday, while hearing a plea raising issues of street vendors in financial distress, asked the Maharashtra government to form a policy to enable street vendors to earn their livelihood during Covid-19 lockdown.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice K K Tated heard through videoconference a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Manoj Jalamchand Oswal through advocate Ashish Verma raising concerns about street vendors selling food items, toys and clothes among other items being without income due to the lockdown.
Oswal argued that since hotels and restaurants are allowed to operate, the street vendors should also be allowed to conduct their business activities. The court, however, said that the petitioner could not equate them with street vendors.
The bench on June 12 had directed the state government, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to file a response on whether the street vendors can maintain hygiene and healthy practices in view of Covid-19 situation.
On Friday, PMC through advocate Abhijit Kulkarni said that it would not allow street vendors in containment zones or even outside them barring certain areas on specific days as per policy formulated by the municipal corporation. The BMC, through senior advocate Anil Sakhare and advocate Yamuna Parekh, sought time to reply to the plea.
The bench also sought to know the state government’s position on the issue and said that as the courts have physically re-opened in staggered manner outside containment zones, the state can consider framing an appropriate policy to enable street vendors to earn their livelihood.
After advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni sought time for the same, the court granted two weeks to the state to respond on consideration of policy for street vendors and posted further hearing on July 7.
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