6 Dec 2021 2:05 PM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Monday pulled up the Delhi Police over it's failure to install 330 CCTV cameras in city's Chandni Chowk area.A bench comprising of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh remarked that the judicial directions on the issue were falling on deaf ears.The Court was dealing with a plea concerning illegal encroachments in Chandni Chowk area, being a no hawking and...
The Delhi High Court on Monday pulled up the Delhi Police over it's failure to install 330 CCTV cameras in city's Chandni Chowk area.
A bench comprising of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh remarked that the judicial directions on the issue were falling on deaf ears.
The Court was dealing with a plea concerning illegal encroachments in Chandni Chowk area, being a no hawking and no vending zone.
On November 10, the Delhi Police had sought one week's time to seek and report instructions on installation of CCTVs and removal of encroachments.
During the course of hearing today, the Court noted that the police's affidavit on the aspect of installation of CCTV cameras was silent.
While directing it to positively take steps to install the cameras before the next date of hearing, the bench also cautioned that it will order personal appearance of Commissioner of Police in case of failure to comply with the directions this time.
"This is only to get the job done otherwise its falling on deaf ears. Let somebody come and explain. It's not dawning on you. Today you are not even able to tell us if you have moved your little finger to do anything about this. What step have you taken since the last date on this aspect? Have you taken a single step? It's not somehow seeping into your minds that this has to be done. What do we do? We are compelled to pass these orders. We don't like to call all these high ranking officers here. And we dare say, when we pass these orders, everything will start moving. These officers will also wake up," Justice Sanghi remarked orally.
Senior Advocate Sanjeev Ralli appearing for the petitioner association submitted that no efforts were taken till date on the installation of CCTV cameras and that the report filed by the Delhi police only talked about the actions on the re-occurrence of illegal encroachments.
"…even that also has gone into vain because after their action, encroachments are there. Despite many directions passed by your lordships since 2019, there is not even a single whisper in the status report wet installation of 330 cameras," he added.
The Court had earlier directed the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to start the process of preparation of the plan under sec. 21 of the Street Vendors Act by involving Experts in the field of city planning like Delhi School of Planning and Architecture, SRDC, CSIR, IIT, PWD and other similar bodies.
Today, the Court was apprised by Mini Pushkarna, counsel appearing for NDMC, that directions were given for constitution of separate committees for each 6 zones instead of one on the aspect of planning.
"During the course of encroachment removal level, there are two things that came to fore. First, member of the petitioner association, shopkeepers, themselves are encroaching outside their shops. Second, they are also allowing the squatters to squat outside their shops. The photographs filed by the petitioner also shows this aspect. My prayer is directions be also issued to these association to file an affidavit to ensure that no encroachment is made outside their shops and they are also not allowing any squatters to squat outside their shops," she added.
The Court expressed its concern over the illegal unauthorised encroachments in the area including the pavements which were covered by illegal hawkers and vendors.
"We are against illegal unauthorised encroachments. Look at the way pavements are encroached upon. No place for people to walk. Whole pavement is covered. It's not even that they are sitting in a corner and people can walk. Pavement is not available for the purpose for which it is made. How will people walk?" Justice Sanghi said.
"Ms. Pushkarna, you are not understanding the problem. The problem is, if you take a plan and you decide you are going to permit these vendors in a particular area, you were to draw a line, if you were to do something like that then this would diffuse the situation. But you are unfortunately sitting. Firstly there is a serious doubt about the way these TVCs are constituted. Two, these TVCs are constituted only for a limited purpose. This TVC in any case is in no position to make any recommendation. We are trying to fill up a void which is there in law. If you were to make a plan, at least in the interregnum it can be put in place, it can be acted upon subject to the TVC making recommendations. We don't want all of these poor people to be driven away but there should be some orderly way of going about it.
"Therefore if you were to complete your exercise at the earliest, in the interregnum you could implement that, whatever further recommendations that have to come from the TVC can be looked at. If somebody is aggrieved they will take their remedies one way or the other. But this cannot be permitted no, that the whole pavement is being encroached upon. It's becoming impossible for the people to walk in the area."
"Our problem is with the present state as it is. We are not saying that it should be completely clean in the sense that there should be nobody at all. So far as people are able to walk and citizens are able to use the walkway, so long as that happens, you may permit a limited number whatever is the carrying capacity of the place."
The matter will now be considered in February end.
Earlier, the Court observed that due to the existing population of the city and huge influx of people from all over the country, it may not be practically feasible to completely stop the activity of hawking and vending in the Chandni Chowk area for the reason that people have become habituated to hawk and vend in the area even though the same was a no-hawking and no-vending zone.
"A large population is without employment and they find it an easy and convenient way of earning their livelihood on daily basis to undertake the activity of hawking and vending and making their ends meet. Hawking and vending has also been recognised as a Fundamental Right," the Court had added.
Case Title: CHANDNI CHOWK SARV VYAPAR MANDAL (REGD.) v. DELHI POLICE THROUGH COMMISSIONER OF POLICE & ORS