New Delhi: No street vendor should be evicted from the city roads or harassed during an ongoing drive being carried out by civic bodies here, without following the due process of law, Delhi High Court said on Friday.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal sought replies from the Lt Governor, Delhi government, Delhi police commissioner, New Delhi Municipal Council and civic bodies here on a plea alleging "unlawful and arbitrary action" against hawkers by authorities concerned.
The court, which fixed the matter for September 28, said the authorities should not evict, disturb or harass any street vendor in the city.
The court was hearing a plea by Congress leader Ajay Maken, seeking a direction to the authorities that as per Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending Act, no street vendor in Delhi shall be disturbed or evicted till the completion of survey of the existing vendors and issuance of Certificate of Vending (COV), as per a scheme of the Delhi government.
Senior advocate Rakesh Khanna and advocate Aman Panwar, appearing for Maken, urged the court that "till the formation of the Town Vending Committee (TVC), no action shall be taken against the vendors or hawkers operating here".
The plea alleged that despite unambiguous provisions of the Act and clear directions of this court, authorities have "proceeded to illegally evict over 500 street vendors" on August 17.
"The civic bodies have neglected Section 3.3 of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, which states that no street vendor shall be evicted or relocated till a survey has been completed and the certificate of vending is issued to all vendors," it said.
Recently, the high court had stayed enforcement of the AAP government's amended rules and scheme for regulating street-vending activities in Delhi and protecting the rights of urban street vendors.
"Since the Delhi government has failed to frame a legally tenable scheme as envisaged under Section 38 of the Act and the enforcement of the scheme prepared by the GNCTD has been stayed by this court on August 8, 2016, police and municipal authorities, taking advantage of the absence of the scheme, and in complete violation of the provisions of the Act, have been arbitrarily evicting street vendors...," the plea said.
In his plea, Maken said that being a former Union Cabinet Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, he was in a position to aid and assist this court as he had engineered and piloted the Street Vendors Bill, 2012, a legislation for protection of livelihoods rights, social security of millions of street vendors in the country.
The petitioner also sought direction to the police and the civic bodies to reinstate the vendors recently "illegally evicted" from various parts of Delhi.
He urged the court to issue a direction to the LG to ensure compliance of the Street Vendors Act.