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Madras HC dismisses plea against SIDCO circular against encroachments in Ambattur

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The Madras High Court has dismissed a petition challenging a circular issued by the Tamil Nadu Small Industries Development Corporation Limited (SIDCO), Ambattur, Chennai to remove encroachments such as shops, bunks and moveable carts by giving prior notice.

The petition has been filed by Ambathur Estate Roadside Petty Shop Traders’ Association.

L. Chandrakumar, the counsel for the petitioner, submitted that SIDCO issued the circular dated 07.11.2019 which is as per the provisions of law, going against the order of the Apex Court while finally disposing of the appeal by its order dated 18.05.2018 in petition for Special Leave to Appeal (C) No.9857 of 2018 [Anbu Nilayam Physically Handicapped Self Employer Welfare Association v. The State Commissioner for Differently Abled and others].

It is further submitted that in the earlier writ petition, being W.P.No.31004 of 2009, though the circular was not challenged, an interim order was operating. However, the petition was finally disposed of finding that the circular dated 07.11.2019 was not challenged and, accordingly, the present petition has been filed. Therefore, the respondents be restrained to take action pursuant to the circular under challenge and the members of the petitioner’s association may not be dispossessed from shops and bunks, where they are carrying on business.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala observed that the challenge to the circular dated 07.11.2019 has been made precisely in reference to the order dated 18.05.2018 passed by the Apex Court in Petition for Special Leave to Appeal (C) No.9857 of 2018. For ready reference, the said order is quoted hereunder, “Heard learned counsel for the parties. In view of Section 12 of the Tamil Nadu Industrial Township Area Development Authority Act, 1997, the SIDCO has to exercise the functions of the local authority under Section 3 read with Section 22 of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014. In this view of the matter, the said authority may carry out the survey of the area in question within one month from today and thereafter proceed in accordance with law. The special leave petition is disposed of in above terms. Pending applications, if any, shall also stand disposed of.”

Further it is observed by the Court that the order quoted above refers to the power of the respondents under Section 12 of the Tamil Nadu Industrial Township Area Development Authority Act, 1997. The SIDCO can exercise the functions of the local authority under Section 3 read with Section 22 of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014. The survey was ordered to be conducted within four weeks and the aforesaid order has been complied with.

In view of the above, the Bench does not find that the circular impugned herein has been issued going against the direction of the Apex Court. Rather, the respondents were not restrained from issuing the circular dated 07.11.2019. In the light of the aforesaid, we find that the impugned circular is not offending the order of the Apex Court supra.

So far as the other issue in reference to the interim order passed in the earlier writ petition filed by the petitioner is concerned, it would not survive on the disposal of the main writ petition. Thus, even the second ground is not made out to challenge the impugned circular, held the High Court.

It is otherwise noted by the Court that the place used by the members of the petitioner’s association comes under the industrial area and, thus, cannot be used for any purpose other than for which the area has been earmarked. Shops and bunks cannot be allowed to operate in the industrial area and, therefore, the impugned circular was rightly issued to maintain the area for the purpose it was earmarked.

Therefore, the Court found no ground warranting interference with the impugned Circular. It is more so when the area in question was declared as non-vending zone and yet the members of the petitioner association are operating the shops and bunks in violation of the circular.

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