The State Government has told the High Court that neither the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) nor any other agency has the right to allot space or accommodation to hawkers to vend on the footpath.

The BBMP could only allot trade licences to the vendors and there is no question of granting them any temporary or permanent accommodation on footpaths. This is as per the directions of the Supreme Court which are enumerated in the National Policy on Hawking.

Majestic area

The State Government made these submissions when the court was hearing petitions by Basheer Khan and 40 others, challenging the inclusion of names of several other persons in the list prepared by the BBMP allowing them to hawk on the footpath opposite Hotel Amar in the Majestic area in Bangalore.

Mr. Khan and others had alleged that persons not vending their wares in the area had been included in the list complied by the BBMP to allot designated areas for them on the footpath.

They had urged the court to quash the November 30, 2009, allotment list prepared by the BBMP. The BBMP, on its part, defended the list and said they were drawn up when representatives of two associations representing the hawkers were present at a meeting.

Taken by surprise

The State Government, however, took both the BBMP and the petitioners by surprise when it said that no hawker could be allotted space on a footpath. It said the BBMP could only issue trade licences. However, even for that, the BBMP must check whether the articles the hawkers want to sell come under the scheduled list. No hawker or footpath vendor could sell goods that are classified under the scheduled list. This means that they can sell only those goods that are not sold in shops. Going through the National Policy, the State said no hawker can put up a temporary structure. Only one licence per family would be given.

Hawkers cannot use gadgets to attract attention of customers. Besides, they cannot be allotted land permanently.

The court reserved orders on the petition.

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