“When will you constitute a Town Vending Committee?”: Delhi HC asks authorities in plea against encroachment at Sarojini market

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The Court was hearing a plea raising the issue of overcrowding and illegal encroachments in the capital's famous flea market, Sarojini Nagar Market.

The Delhi High Court has asked the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and Delhi government to get instructions on the Constitution of a Town Vending Committee (TVC) in a plea raising the issue of overcrowding and illegal encroachments in the capital's famous flea market, Sarojini Nagar Market.

During the hearing, Advocate Kajal Chandra appearing for the petitioners informed the court that there is non-compliance with the earlier orders. She submitted that four status reports have been filed by the NDMC, but there has been non-compliance. “Only licensed vendors can hold shops there”, she argued.

To this, a division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh asked, “How can you relocate eligible hawkers? “You don’t put a cart before a horse”, Justice Mridul remarked orally.

The counsel for the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) informed the bench that Section 21 (Plan for Street Vending) of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood & Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 is under challenge and that the same is listed for hearing on February 1.

Taking note of the submissions, the division bench said, “Unless you constitute a TVC, it cannot be monitored. Tell us when will you constitute a TVC. Take Instructions.” Accordingly, the court listed the matter for further hearing on February 1, 2023.

In December 2021, the bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh had 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.

While issuing a slew of directions, the court had said, "This wishy-washy (attitude) will not work."

The Court had 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, court had further directed the authorities to ensure there is no overcrowding in the market and that all protocols are strictly observed.

The bench had 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. v. Government of NCT of Delhi & Ors.