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Street vendors: Delhi High Court seeks DDA response to plea against Master Plan 2021’s hawker blindspots

The instant petition has been filed through Advocates Kawalpreet Kaur, Haider Ali and Oindrila Sen by the National Hawkers Federation, an organisation that works for the welfare of hawkers, peddlers and street vendors across the nation.

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The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought the response of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) upon a plea challenging the Delhi Master Plan 2021 passed by it to the extent that it does not take into account the provisions of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014.

The Division Bench led by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was dealing with a plea filed by an association of street vendors alleging that the 2021 Master Plan failed to incorporate such provisions that provides and promotes a supportive environment for urban street vendors to carry out their vocation.

The Bench issued notice in the matter and slated it for next hearing on January 12, 2022.

The instant petition has been filed through Advocates Kawalpreet Kaur, Haider Ali and Oindrila Sen by the National Hawkers Federation, an organisation that works for the welfare of hawkers, peddlers and street vendors across the nation. 

The plea points out that the 2021 Master Plan which was approved in 2007 contravenes various provisions of the Street Vendors Act, inasmuch as Section 5.10 of the Plan, which lays down provisions for regulating the informal sector, does not postulate on formation of the Town Vending Committees for safeguarding the rights and interests of the street vendors. Section 5.10.1 of the Plan empowers local authorities and RWAs to regulate street vendors. 

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In light of the above, the plea seeks setting aside of Sections 5.10.1, 5.10.2, 5.10.3, 5.10.4 and 5.10.5 of the 2021 Master Plan as being ultra vires of the Street Vendors Act, 2014, and substituting them with new provisions in line with the Street Vendors Act.

Claiming that failure to implement the Street Vendors Act, 2014, would cause irreparable loss to the urban street vendors, the plea reads thus: 

“The overarching objective of the said Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending Act 2014, can be summarised as aiming to provide for and promote a supportive environment for urban street vendors to carry out their vocation while at the same time ensuring that vending activities do not lead to overcrowding and unsanitary conditions in public spaces and streets… If the Respondent authorities are not directed to take immediate and appropriate steps in order to implement the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act 2014 , all the urban street vendors in the State shall continue to suffer irreparably which would result in an absolute miscarriage of justice.”

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