Chandni Chowk hawking: Delhi HC summons top police, civil officials

The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed personal presence of the Commissioners of Delhi Police and North Delhi Municipal Corporation over the issue of illegal encroachments in Chandni Chowk area despite it being a no-hawking zone.

“We are of the view that time has come for this court to require the presence of Commissioner of Police, Delhi as well as Commissioner, North Delhi Municipal Corporation to explain how they propose to deal with the ongoing menace,” the bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said.

Hearing a plea by the Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal seeking direction to the authorities to remove illegal hawkers and vendors from the no-hawking and no-squatting areas in Chandni Chowk, which has recently undergone redevelopment, the court noted that it cannot accept the position that the authorities were helpless over the issue.

Petitioner’s counsel Sanjiv Ralli opposed the police claim in the status report, in which it said there was encroachment removal drives on January 22, 23, and 26.

He argued that the Delhi Police mislead the court as there was a strict curfew on January 22 and 23. Being the Republic Day on January 26, there was no activity of hawking or vending permitted at Chandni Chowk for security reasons, he submitted.

Earlier, the court had directed the Delhi Police to take steps to install CCTV cameras in the area to check encroachment on pavements and walkways.

It also noted that it is of utmost importance that the administration undertakes the task of preparing a plan in terms of Section 21 of The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood And Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, at the earliest so that the activity of hawking and vending can be properly regulated and it ceases to be a nuisance which it is presently.

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