Town Vending Committees declared illegal

HC asks GCC to reconstitute the committees

Published - April 27, 2022 10:27 pm IST - CHENNAI

The Madras High Court on Wednesday allowed a public interest litigation petition and declared as illegal the constitution of Town Vending Committees by Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) under the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act of 2014.

Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice D. Bharatha Chakravarthy held that the town vending committees had not been constituted by GCC strictly as per the mandate under Section 22 of the 2014 Act and hence they could not be allowed to continue to carry out their functions.

They agreed with the petitioner’s counsel P. Vijendran that the town vending committees ought to have been headed by the GCC commissioner and not an Executive Engineer of the corporation. The judges expressed their displeasure over the corporation not having reconstituted the committees despite grant of time.

Though it was argued that declaring the constitution of the town vending committees might end up disturbing several activities, the judges said it could not be cited as a reason to continue an illegality.

The court also issued a consequential direction to the GCC to constitute the committees strictly in accordance with the law.

S. Singaram, an elected member of the Town Vending Committee from the 13th zone in Adyar, had filed the PIL petition seeking a writ of declaration that the constitution of the committees were illegal. The litigant claimed that there were around 10 lakh street vendors in the State and that many of them were graduates, widows, minorities and depressed class people. They struggle to make ends meet and it was to regulate their business that Parliament had come up with the 2014 legislation.

Since the law required constitution of Town Vending Committees, on whose recommendation the vending and non vending zones in the city limits had to be identified, such bodies ought to have been constituted strictly as per the mandate of the Act, the petitioner said.

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