26 Sep 2023 12:26 PM GMT
The Calcutta High Court has recently hauled up the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (“KMC”) in a plea challenging its alleged inaction pertaining to non-removal of unauthorised hawkers and street vendors on the “Oberoi Grand Arcade,” a heritage site and landmark situated in New Market.In directing the KMC to submit a report in the matter, and not give out any further permits to the...
The Calcutta High Court has recently hauled up the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (“KMC”) in a plea challenging its alleged inaction pertaining to non-removal of unauthorised hawkers and street vendors on the “Oberoi Grand Arcade,” a heritage site and landmark situated in New Market.
In directing the KMC to submit a report in the matter, and not give out any further permits to the vendors without Court orders, a single-bench of Justice Amrita Sinha held:
The Corporation is directed to file a report with regard to the steps taken to keep the pavement free for pedestrians. The report of the Corporation shall mention as to whether any license has been issued in favour of any of the hawkers to sell goods and or articles in the pavement. Names and addresses of the hawkers/vendors in front of the subject premises shall be disclosed in the report to be filed by the Corporation. List the matter on 05.10.2023. No further license shall be issued by the Corporation without leave of the Court.
It was submitted by the petitioners, proprietors of the Oberoi Grand Hotel, a Grade-I heritage structure, that their arcade was packed with unauthorised vendors, blocking the shops of their own tenants, leading to large scale commotion and leaving no place for pedestrians to walk.
Petitioners argued that the hawkers, in an illegal manner, had been using electricity from street lights by ‘hooking’ wires onto them, and that such dangerous use of electricity could potentially lead to a fire accident, as had occurred earlier in a neighbouring area.
Petitioners submitted that despite repeated representations before the KMC Authorities, no action had been taken, and the menace of unauthorised hawking continued.
Court took on record by the local Police Station which stated that it was noticed that the hawkers have encroached a portion of the footpath hindering pedestrian movement except the entrance and exit gate.
KMC and Police authorities submitted that if Court orders were passed to that effect, then the authorities could immediately remove the illegal encroachers.
In expressing prima facie exasperation at the KMC’s inaction the Bench remarked:
Why will a heritage building façade not be viewed? Why can’t you act on a suo moto basis? Why do the authorities always need a court order to act?”
The matter has been placed for further orders upon the filing of KMC’s report on the 5th of October.
Case: EIH Limited -Versus- The Kolkata Municipal Corporation & Ors
Case No: WPO 1611/2023
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