Legal Correspondent

New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to stop sealing operations and allow traders, who had given affidavits, to continue their commercial activities in residential areas in the capital.

In a fresh application seeking modification of the court's earlier orders, the Centre said that traders who were covered by the September 7 government notification were asked to file affidavits before the court-appointed Monitoring Committee so that they would stop misusing their residential premises if the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 was quashed.

The committee explained the difficulties in carrying out the sealing operations in view of the trade bandh. It sought court permission to decide on the date of commencement of the sealing operations.

The Centre said the traders were distressed that the affidavits they filed earlier had not spared closure of their establishments. Not only such proprietors were being deprived of their business but employees and their families were being left without any means of sustenance following the sealing.

By its September 29 order, the court said misuse of premises, for which undertakings were given, stop by October 31; small shops measuring less than 20 square metres in residential areas were allowed trading in 22 items; those protected by the September 7 notification must give an undertaking, and the sealing process would continue from November 1 on the premises for which protection was not extended.

The Centre said that in the first category about 41,000 traders had filed affidavits and as per MCD estimates, about 9,000 of them were operating on premises less than 20 square metres and they would be eligible for relief. The second category of a few thousands would be treated on a par with those who had given undertakings to stop misuse.