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Kerala High Court Issues Directions To Curb Operation Of Unauthorised Street Vendors In Kochi

Hannah M Varghese
21 Feb 2022 6:55 AM GMT
Kerala High Court Issues Directions To Curb Operation Of Unauthorised Street Vendors In Kochi
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The Kerala High Court on Friday issued a comprehensive list of directions to ensure strict implementation of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 within the limits of Kochi Corporation and to ensure that only authorised vendors carry on street vending activities therein.Justice A.K Jayasankaran Nambiar issued the directions in a batch...

The Kerala High Court on Friday issued a comprehensive list of directions to ensure strict implementation of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 within the limits of Kochi Corporation and to ensure that only authorised vendors carry on street vending activities therein.

Justice A.K Jayasankaran Nambiar issued the directions in a batch of petitions pending before the Court since 2019 concerning the issue of regulation of street vending activities within the limits of the Kochi Municipal Corporation.

These petitions have been filed both by persons aggrieved by the attempts of the Corporation to prevent them from carrying on their street vending activities and by resident associations aggrieved by the proliferation of unlicensed street vendors carrying on vending activities in their residential areas.

In November 2021, the Court had strictly ordered that street vendors not holding ID Cards shall not operate in Kochi from December 1 2021. 

In its order dated 28.01.2022, the Court had observed that the salutary objective of protecting the livelihood of genuine street vendors cannot be jeopardized at the instance of those who do not qualify to be street vendors under the Street Vendors Act Rules and Scheme. 

Observing so, a Monitoring Committee comprising of the District Collector, the City Police Commissioner, Amicus Curiae, Mayor of the Kochi Municipal Corporation and the CEO of CSML was directed to be constituted to monitor street vending activities

Amicus Curiae Dr K.P Pradeep accordingly filed a report on 15 February that a Committee has been constituted and it convened meetings on 5 and 11 February pursuant to which certain suggestions were put forth.

He further submitted that upon a surprise inspection conducted, it was found that many vendors were not exhibiting their vending certificate on their vending carts and that vending activities were still carried on by persons not holding a vending certificate.

Therefore, the Court issued the following directions. 

Directions Issued To Monitoring Committee:

  1. Vending activities shall be carried on only by the holder of a certificate of vending or his/her family member.
  2. Certificate of Vending shall be prominently displayed on the vending cart/stall by the vendor concerned.
  3. Vending activities on footpaths shall be confined only to such areas where the width of the footpath is more than 3 metres and after leaving sufficient space for pedestrians to walk. Facilities provided for differently-abled persons shall not be hindered/obstructed in any manner.
  4. The vending activities shall be confined to an area of 15 - 25 sq. ft. depending on the nature of the activity. The Monitoring Committee shall provisionally fix the area based on inputs received from the Corporation and its Town Vending Committee.

Other Directions Issued:

  1. Standing Counsel for the Corporation submitted that a meeting of the Town Vending Committee was scheduled on 21.02.2022.  The Committee shall on that day deliberate and decide on the vending area to be fixed in respect of various categories within the range of 15 – 25 sq. ft.
  2. The Vending Committee shall also decide on the criteria for determining the eligibility of an applicant for a certificate of vending in terms of the Act. In that process, they shall be guided by the provisions of Sections 2(l), 5 & 6 of the Act.
  3. Taking note of Covid protocols, vending shall not be carried on in a manner that results in extending vending spaces beyond permitted limits and vendors shall not vend in clusters.
  4. The District Collector is directed to forthwith issue notices to the persons continuing their vending activities without authorisation, asking them to produce documents relevant to identifying them as a street vendor under the Act, Rules & Scheme and other documents to show compliance with the conditions stipulated in the certificates of vending issued to them. After hearing the said persons, the District Collector shall submit a report before the Court recording his findings in respect of each of the said persons and their vending activities. The said exercise shall be completed by the District Collector within a month and a report filed before this Court by 18.03.2022. 
  5. Considering the difficulties of the Monitoring Committee and to ensure systematic implementation of the Street Vending Scheme, the Town Vending Committee is directed not to issue fresh certificates of vending to any person till 18.03.2022 by which time based on the directions issued above, clarity will be achieved as regards what activities qualify to be permissible street vending activities and the persons who are entitled to carry on such activities.
  6. The Corporation shall also ensure that the Street Vending Plan for the Kochi Municipal Corporation is finalised by 18.03.2022, without fail. In view of the delay already occasioned in finalising the Plan, it is made clear that no further time will be granted to the Corporation in this regard.

Case Title: Rajesh R & Ors. v. Health Inspector, Municipal Corporation of Kochi & Ors. and connected matters 

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 92

Click Here To Read/Download The Order

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