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Above:  A roadside hawker pours water on litchis to keep it fresh (file picture). Photo: UNI

De-congested roads, market places and also railway stations in Mumbai are on the anvil. On Wednesday (November  1), the Bombay High Court ruled that hawkers in Mumbai can’t operate their business in ‘non-hawking’ zones.

The division bench of Justices Bhushan Gavai and Makarand Karnik said: “We hold that no hawking can be permitted in no-hawking zones. Also, we cannot accept the contention of the hawkers that since there are no notified non-hawking zones in various cities, so they can carry out their business.”

“No hawking would be permitted within 100 metres of any place of worship, holy shrine, educational institution and hospital. Similarly, no hawking would be permitted within 150 metres of any municipal or other market, or the entry point of a railway station.

“Let us also clarify that there would no hawking at all on foot over bridges and overbridges. It is also clarified that outside places of worship, hawkers can only be permitted to sell items which are required by the devotees for making an offering to their deity – such as flowers, sandalwood, candles, agarbattis, coconuts etc,” the Justices added.

The batch of petitions filed by various hawkers unions had sought directions to constrain all Chief Officers along with Municipal Commissioners and local authorities across Maharashtra from evacuating, levying fines and victimizing the existing street vendors (identified since May 2014) from running their trade.

The hawker unions had given the reasoning that Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, was legislated to acknowledge rights of street vendors as a basis of self-employment.

The Act empowers bulk of citizens to buy necessities at cheap prices at accessible vending places, the hawker unions had contented.

—India Legal Bureau

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