The top court allowed South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to implement its order for making Nehru Place a ‘no hawking, no squatting zone’ while dismissing a plea filed by some hawkers.
The Supreme Court said that the hawkers can’t occupy public spaces as a matter of right. It upheld the judgement passed by the Delhi High Court in 2017. The court agreed with the stand of SDMC and directed to remove the unauthorised hawkers from the area and revoked the security granted to some hawkers in 2018.
Senior Advocate Sanjiv Sen, appearing for the SDMC told the bench of the Supreme Court judges, Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarthana that a decision to declare Nehru Place District Centre as ‘no-hawking zone’ was taken way back in 2009 by the lieutenant governor and the decision was in agreement with the orders of Delhi High Court by which it had allowed the authority to frame a scheme to shift the hawkers to a place which doesn’t block the public spaces.
He also brought to notice of the court a recent fire incident where the firefighting vehicles could not reach on time due to the encroachment in the area.
The decision the Nehru Place area as a no-hawking zone was taken more than a decade ago. However, the decision could not be fully enforced due to multiple rounds of litigation in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court.
A list of the names of hawkers was prepared by Thareja and Chopra Committees under the directions of the Supreme Court who were allowed to sit in the Nehru Place area. The Supreme Court in September 2017 dismissed the pleas filed by the hawkers seeking protection from being removed from the area as their names were not found mentioned in either of the two lists prepared under the directions of the apex court.
“We are unable to accept the submission of the learned counsel for the petitioners, for the reason that in case the petitioners were regular street vendors, their names would have found mentioned in either of the two lists. We also found that in the affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, various lists were provided and the vendors mentioned in those lists were provided protection. In case, the petitioners were regular street vendors, certainly their names would have figured in any of the proceedings, which is not there.”2009 verdict of Delhi High Court
In view of the judgment passed, it was declared that the Nehru Place area is ‘no hawking, no vending’ zone.The SDMC has been given full liberty by the Supreme Court to remove the unauthorised hawkers from the area.