Coming down heavily on the lackadaisical attitude of Delhi Police and the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) in removing illegal encroachments by street vendors in Connaught Place, the Delhi High Court has sought status reports about the steps they have taken in the issue. A Division Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh has also asked the authorities to display permanent boards in Rajiv Chowk and Indira Chowk area mentioning that CP is a no-hawking/illegal vending zone. Criticizing the NDMC for failing their obligations ‘on the ground’, the Court said it is not satisfied with the mere paper exercise that the civic body claims to have undertaken. “In our view, such an exercise is merely undertaken to shun responsibility by the officers and pass the buck on,” the bench said. The Court’s response came after seeing photographs, in which it was seen scores and scores of hawkers and vendors who are occupying public spaces on the pavements meant for pedestrian use. The bench was hearing a petition by shop owners in the area seeking directions to ensure that illegal hawking, squatting, and vending activities be removed permanently. Large areas have been occupied by them to display their goods and wares which they are vending. Large congregations of crowds can be seen around these vends; the court observed. The bench also directed the Chairman, Executive Engineers of the NDMC having jurisdiction over the Connaught Place area, as well as the DCP of the area concerned and the SHO of the local police station to remain present before the court on the next date. Further hearing on the matter will be on November 8, 2021.
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