The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court this week ordered the Maharashtra government to constitute town vending committees for all the municipal corporations at the earliest. The HC even slammed the state authorities for failing to constitute such committees violating the right to earn a livelihood of hawkers and street vendors.
A bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Kilor was hearing a plea filed by Bhaji Va Fal Mutton, Chicken, Macchi, Chaha, Pan Che Vikreta Footpath Dukandar Sanstha, Jaripatka, Nagpur, challenging their eviction from the streets.
The petitioner society claimed that the authorities in Jaripatka has not conducted any survey of street vendors and have not cared to protect the street vendors against their illegal eviction.
The society further pointed out that the authorities have failed to properly implement the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, which mandates constitution of a town vending committee, that would identify eligible vendors and hawkers and permit them to carry on with their business in the designated market places.
The counsel appearing for the Nagpur municipal corporation, however, clarified that unless such committees are constituted, the issue of hawkers won't be resolved. He stated that a proposal to constitute such committees has been made by the civic body to the state government but a decision on the same is yet to be taken.
The bench, having heard the contentions, referred to the various provisions of the 2014 act and also the renewed act of 2016 and noted the law mandates constitution of such committees within six months of the law being brought in force.
"It is clear from the provisions that unless and until the Town Vending Committee is constituted and duly notified, it would not be possible for the state as well as local authorities to effectively implement the provisions of Act of 2014. The mandate of law is that they are implemented as soon as possible and in any case within six months from the date of coming into force of the renewed act of 2016," the judges noted.
"It is not in dispute that the Rules of 2016 have come into force on August 3, 2016. If the mandate of the law is considered, it would not require much effort to say that the appropriate government i.e. state government ought to have completed the whole process including constitution of Town Vending Committee and framing of the scheme latest by February 2017," the bench noted.
"But the scheme is yet to see the light of the day. Even the proposal sent by civic body for constitution of the Town Vending Committee is awaiting its approval from the state. This is quite disappointing," the judges said, adding, "Owing to inaction of the state authorities in duly constituting a Town Vending Committee, poor hawkers and street vendors are suffering to no end and as a result, their fundamental right to livelihood as declared by the Apex Court is being violated."
While issuing notices to the state and the civic body, the bench ordered the state government to take a decision on the proposal of the Nagpur civic body at the earliest.
Matter has been adjourned till October 27.
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