The Madras High Court Bench here on Tuesday recorded a submission made on behalf of the Madurai Corporation Commissioner that street vendors blocking free flow of traffic and movement of pedestrians on Anna Nagar 80 Feet Road here would be relocated as per the guidelines framed by the Supreme Court on September 9, 2013.
A Division Bench of Justices R. Sudhakar and V.M. Velumani closed a public interest litigation petition filed by lawyer S. Muthukumar after recording the Commissioner’s submission.
The judges pointed out that the Commissioner should relocate them in accordance with the apex court guidelines as the Centre was yet to bring into force a legislation protecting the hawkers.
The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012, was passed by the Lok Sabha on September 6, 2013, and the Rajya Sabha on February 19 this year.
However, it was yet to be notified in the gazette.
In the judgement passed last year, the Supreme Court had pointed out that the importance of street vendors and hawkers could be measured from the fact that millions of urban poor across the country procured their basic necessities such as clothes, hosiery items and plastic wares mainly from street vendors because the goods sold on pavements or through push carts were cheap.
“The street vendors are harassed a lot and are constantly victimised by the officials of the local authorities and the police who regularly target them for extra income and treat them with extreme contempt… Perhaps these minions in the administration have not understood meaning of the term “dignity” enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution.”
Pointing out that the court should strike a balance between the vendors’ right to carry on hawking and the commuters’ right to move freely, the court ordered implementation of National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, 2009, until the Centre came out with a comprehensive legislation.