A petitioner failing to give details of illegal hawkers and seeking their removal amounts to initiating a “roving inquiry”, said the Bombay High Court while recently dismissing a petition by one Rajeev Sakpal seeking necessary action against illegal hawkers near the King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital in Parel. Notably, the petitioner owns a shop opposite the KEM's main gate.
A division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Rajesh Patil also remarked that there was no finding by the BMC that there are illegal hawkers around the hospital. “The petitioner has not given any details as to who are the persons, who are illegally hawking on the street and their locations. Such an effort on the part of the petitioner is, in our view, no less than the one of collection of evidence through the orders of the court. Such a petition is therefore not maintainable.”
Sakpal's plea contended that although some area around the hospital is declared as hawking zone, unauthorised hawkers are carrying out business within the KEM's territory. He filed the petition through Manoj Harit and Neeraj Shetty after getting no response to his representations made to the BMC.
Lawyers for the BMC, Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Waghmare, contended that there are nine authorised stalls on the footpath of Dr E Borges Road in front of the hospital. The civic body said it would like to find out a long term solution once the hawking zones, which are yet to be identified by the town vending committee, are demarcated.
Sakpal’s advocates argued that the BMC has failed to address the issue of illegal hawkers. To which, the HC said, “But, the necessary details (of illegal hawkers) have not been given by the petitioner and to worsen the situation, there is no finding or determination whatsoever recorded by the Corporation to the effect that a particular area or a particular street at or around KEM hospital, which is infested with illegal hawkers.”
It further added that it is necessary for the petitioner to give details of the hawkers, the places from which they are carrying out the business and also the timings when they squat there.
“Of course, we are conscious of the fact that in a matter like this, the petitioner may find it difficult to get any information about the particular names of the hawkers, but there would still be a need to know minimum details about their activity so that the BMC can be directed to take the appropriate steps,” the bench averred.