The Delhi High Court today asked municipal authorities here to immediately constitute street vending committees to decide whether a hawker is an existing squatter or a new one as their "slumber" has allowed anyone to claim they have been squatting for long.
The court passed the order while dismissing the plea of a NGO, Delhi Shramik Sangathan, representing 130 hawkers carrying out business in Harkesh Nagar near Okhla Industrial Area Phase II here and who had alleged they were tricked into temporarily shifting from their earlier location under the garb of developing a parking lot for a Delhi metro station. They had alleged that the place they were shifted to was filthy and pitiable and thus their right to dignity and to carry on trade in a congenial atmosphere has been violated and had sought that the area be cleaned up.
"The slumber by the Municipal Authorities has created a situation where any person can spring up one fine day and claim that he is squatting since long. This claim has to be decided by the Vending Committee. We would therefore commend to the Municipal Authorities that immediate steps be taken to constitute the Street Vending Committees. "Till then, a person who claims to be an existing squatter be not disturbed, but at the same time we make it clear that nobody has a right to squat on a right of way or raise temporary or permanent constructions, and if any are raised, the Municipal Authorities would be free to demolish the same," a bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Jayant Nath said.
The court dismissed the petition saying the hawkers who cause was being espoused by the NGO "have misused the judicial process". It, however, made it clear that dismissal of the plea does not mean the municipal corporation would not discharge its duty to remove the garbage from the area on daily basis.