Bombay Court upholds Hawkers’ rights to Livelihood

Bombay (Mumbai): The Bombay High Court on Wednesday (November 1) ruled that hawkers in the city can operate outside the radius of 150 meters of hospitals, railway stations, educational institutions and religious places.

The Bombay High Court also ordered that the hawkers would not be allowed anywhere in the city except for designated hawking zones.
“Hawkers are restricted to operate from the foot over bridges, the road over bridges, outside educational institutes, hospitals and outside railway stations,” the High Court said.

The court also ruled that hawkers will be allowed to operate outside religious places and can sell wares that are only used for worship.

The hawkers association, along with Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam had three days earlier addressed a rally of around 150 hawkers, following which several members of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, who were trying to evict them, were assaulted.
Several protesters were arrested and a case was registered against Sanjay Nirupam for holding a rally without prior police permission. Congress had alleged that the state government is trying to shield MNS chief Raj Thackeray, asking why a similar case was not registered against him when he led a rally on the hawker issue without permission. MNS also threatened to “knock out” illegal hawkers from rail and road premises.
Against the ‘illegal eviction drivers’, Sanjay Nirupam and the hawkers’association had approached the High Court.

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The hawkers association said that the Street Vendors’ (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act and High Court orders protect hawkers carrying out business as on the date the law was enacted on May 1, 2014.
The association argued that the three years after the law was enforced, the state was yet to take steps to frame rules and form town vending committees comprising hawkers’ representatives.

The BMC informed HC that in Mumbai as per its survey there are around 99,000 registered hawkers but the petitioners insisted that as of May 2014 there were over 2.5 lakh hawkers.

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