HC asks NDMC, Delhi Police to clear CP of encroachments

‘Failure to remove illegal hawkers impacts citizens’ right to life’

The Delhi High Court has said that the failure of the authorities to remove hawkers and vendors from no-vending zone “very severely and adversely” impacts citizens’ rights to life, a healthy and clean environment.

A Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh made the remarks while directing removal of unauthorised hawkers and vendors from Connaught Place.

The High Court warned officials of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and Delhi Police, who have jurisdiction over the area, to ensure strict compliance of orders and scheme approved by the Supreme Court on encroachments.

“We…issue a stern warning to both — officers of the NDMC as well as the Delhi Police who have jurisdiction over the Connaught Place area, that is Rajiv Chowk and Indira Chowk — to ensure strict compliance of not only the scheme approved by the Supreme Court but also the orders passed by courts…,” the Bench said.

The High Court’s order came while hearing a plea by the New Delhi Traders’ Association, which represents shop owners and operators in Connaught Place, seeking directions to ensure that illegal hawking and squatting or vending activities in ‘no hawking’ and ‘no vending’ areas of Connaught Place and Connaught Circus are stopped permanently.

The court directed removal of encroachers and illegal vendors from Connaught Place and directed the authorities to ensure that the area remains clean on a regular basis and they do not return. It also ordered the Chairman and Executive Engineers of NDMC, having jurisdiction over the area, and Deputy Commissioner of Police and SHO of local police station to remain present before the court on November 18.

“Status reports should be filed by the NDMC and Delhi Police about the steps taken by them not only to remove the encroachments but also to ensure that the illegal encroachers and vendors do not return and the area is kept clean on a continuous basis,” the court ordered.

“NDMC should display permanent boards in the entire Rajiv Chowk and the Indira Chowk areas displaying the fact that the area is a no hawking and no vending zone,” it added.

Lack of competence

After perusing the photograph submitted by the association, the High Court said it showed complete lack of concern by the authorities to the unauthorised encroachments and expose their utter lack of competence in ensuring compliance of their own scheme, as well as the orders passed by this court and the Supreme Court from time to time.

“It is as if the respondents [authorities] have completely surrendered and accepted the invasion by hawkers and vendors and they have put their hands up, accepting helplessness,” the Bench said.

The association had sought that the authorities be directed to ensure the areas are kept free from encroachments by illegal hawkers and vendors.

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