Mumbai: HC Says Vending Outside Designated Hawking Zones 'Continued Problem', Asks BMC To Identify Issues In Removing Hawkers From Footpaths

Mumbai: HC Says Vending Outside Designated Hawking Zones 'Continued Problem', Asks BMC To Identify Issues In Removing Hawkers From Footpaths

The court had taken suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the hawker menace in the city while hearing a petition by mobile shop owners in Borivali who claimed that access to their shops was blocked by illegal hawkers in November 2022.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, February 13, 2024, 10:37 PM IST
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Mumbai: Hawking outside designated hawking zones and the periodic removal of unlicensed vendors is a “continued problem”, the Bombay High Court has observed. It has further asked the BMC to identify problems it faces in removal of hawkers from footpaths to make them easily accessible to pedestrians for free movement. “This is a city-wide problem,” a division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata said in the order on Monday. 

The court had taken suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the hawker menace in the city while hearing a petition by mobile shop owners in Borivali who claimed that access to their shops was blocked by illegal hawkers in November 2022.

The court asked BMC counsel SU Kamdar to prepare a short note “identifying further specific troubles and problems” that the civic body faces regarding the problems posed by the hawkers encroaching the pavements. “At this stage, we do not know whether they admit of a single solution or a series of smaller steps…,” the bench noted while asking the BMC to prepare its note by the next date of hearing on March 1.

'Encroachment By Hawkers A City Wide Problem'

During the hearing, the court remarked that the encroachment by hawkers is a city wide problem and there is a need to find systematic solutions. “Today there is a market here, tomorrow it moves five streets down. On Sundays it is a mega market that is open to all,” Justice Patel said. 

Kamdar agreed, pointing out that the footpaths outside the court itself were encroached upon by hawkers. However, he said that they will need assistance from the government in tackling the problem. Justice Patel asked him to specify the type of help that would be required.

Demarcate Hawking and Non-Hawking Zones:

The bench emphasised that the problem could be solved by demarcating hawking and non-hawking zones and strictly implementing it. “It’s only a question of zonability so that movement is not impeded. And access to shops is not impeded,” Justice Patel underlined. 

The court suggested that the civic body could seek help from NGOs or experts in planning. “Are there planning experts or any NGOs who could assist in this. Somebody who would be able to work. Someone who has experience in planning,” Justice Patel suggested.

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