The Delhi High Court has sought the presence of a senior officer from the urban development department after the AAP government failed to consider grievances of street vendors in the national capital while re-visiting the rules and schemes meant to regulate their activities.
A bench headed by Justice G S Sistani asked the officer to be present before it as the government failed to decide within six weeks, the rules required to be re-framed for functioning of the Street Vendors Act, more specifically constitution of the Town Vending Committee (TVC).
The court summoned the officer to be present before it on September 4. Earlier, the bench had asked the Delhi chief minister to look into the issue as it would affect number of street vendors and to ensure that the representations are considered reasonably and expeditiously before the Rules were given final shape, as this would go a long way in resolving the difficulties of the street vendors as a class.
The court gave the direction after some NGOs, traders’ associations and Congress leader Ajay Maken alleged that the law on setting up of town vending committees has been violated by the government as these do not comprise vendors’ elected representatives.
Senior advocate Kirti Uppal, representing the petitioner and lawyer Aman Panwar, who appeared for Maken, submitted that the committees, according to the Act, must comprise 40 per cent street vendors. The counsel had said the Delhi government’s decision to constitute these committees by nomination of their members is contrary to the statutory scheme.
Taking note the statement, the bench had said, “We are of the view that since the rules are being re-considered, it would be a golden opportunity to address concerns of street vendors.”
“Accordingly, street vendors shall make a representation which would be handed over within one week. The representation would be placed before the chief minister (Arvind Kejriwal), who may consider the same and if required alternate, amend, incorporate such changes which would help in smooth functioning of the Act,” it had said.
The batch of petitions have challenged the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, which was enacted to regulate street vendors in public areas and protect their rights.
They have also challenged the rules and the scheme made by the Delhi government. They prayed that the court should monitor implementation of the provisions of the act until certificates of vending are issued to the street vendors and the grievance redressal and dispute resolution committee as provided under the Act becomes functional.
According to the act, the government shall constitute a town vending committee under each municipal corporation. This means, Delhi will have five town vending committees – one each under the East, South and North corporations, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB).
The validity of a hawker’s certificate will be for nine years from the date of issue, after which they will have to submit fresh applications to the town vending committees for renewal. The high court had in August 2016 stayed enforcement of the Delhi government’s amended rules and scheme for regulating street vending.