[Sarojini Nagar Market] "Covid or no Covid, this is scary!" Delhi High Court pulls up NDMC, Delhi Police over non-compliance with removal of encroachments, and overcrowding

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The Delhi High Court today pulled the New Delhi Municipal Corporation and Delhi Police over their non-compliance with the Court's previous order to remove illegal encroachments, and overcrowding at the capital's famous flea market, Sarojini Nagar Market.

Issuing a slew of directions in this regard, the bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said to the SHO, Sarojini Nagar PS, "This wishy-washy (attitude) will not work."

The bench was hearing a plea raising the issue of over-crowding and illegal encroachments in the market. Earlier, in the morning hours, the Court had asked the SHO of Sarojini Nagar to be present before the Court along with NDMC officials on the matter.

The petitioner informed the bench that there is a kind of understanding between the policemen and shopkeepers because of which the matter has still not been resolved. Responding to this, the bench said, "Obviously there is a payoff, we have no hesitation in saying that, there is no way they could be sitting without that."

However, the SHO informed the Court that the Police conducts removal drives everyday. "There are more than 80,000 people visiting there, NDMC is taking care of encroachments outside the market area," the SHO added.

The bench retorted on this asking this these are removal drives or collection drives.

The bench noted that despite its previous order of removing the encroachments there is no improvement in the situation.

"The place has already witnessed a blast in the past. God forbid if any such instance were to occur (again)," the Court orally observed.

While concluding the hearing, the Court directed the Delhi Police to work out a movement plan in which 3 entry and 3 exit points may be made. Entry into the market may be permitted when it appears the market is not full to capacity only. In addition to this further directed the authorities to ensure there is no overcrowding in the market and that all protocols are strictly observed.

The bench further directed that the goods seized from hawkers and vendors illegally hawking and vending there, may not be released to them without the Court's orders.

Cause Title: Sh Kuldeep Singh Sahani & Ors. vs Government of NCT of Delhi & Ors.