Ensure vigil, action against encroachment in Chandni Chowk: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court has directed the police and the civic body here to ensure strict vigil and regular action against encroachment in the Chandni Chowk area.

A bench headed by Justice Tushar Rao Gedela said the authorities must comply with the decision of a Special Task Force (STF) in this regard, and that Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s Assistant Commissioner concerned and the SHOs of Lahori Gate and Kotwali police stations shall be held personally responsible if the encroachment is not removed or it reoccurs.

The court’s order came on a petition by Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal seeking directions to ensure that no squatting and hawking activities are carried on in the “non-hawking/non-squatting areas” in Chandni Chowk.

“We dispose of this writ petition with a direction that the respondents shall strictly adhere to the actions to be undertaken as decided by the STF in its minutes dated 07.12.2023 and non-compliance thereof shall be viewed seriously by this court,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Ravinder Dudeja.

“Strict vigil and action on day-to-day basis must be taken and in case the encroachments are not removed or reoccurs, the Assistant Commissioner of MCD of the zone concerned and the Station House Officers (SHOs) of Lahori Gate and Kotwali shall be held personally responsible,” it ordered.

The court noted that pursuant to its directions, the STF held a meeting to discuss issues regarding continuous action against illegal vending/encroachment in no hawking/no vending in the area and it was decided that the authorities shall take various measures in this regard, including joint encroachment removal drive on regular basis as well as regular vigil.

It added that a decision was also taken by the STF, comprising officials of the MCD and police, to provide a sufficient number of police personnel for encroachment removal drives and to prevent its recurrence and also hold regular review meetings every quarter and take action.

The court observed that even earlier, directions were issued to the SHO of Lahori Gate police station and the Commissioner of MCD to ensure that the rule of law prevails and thus ordered, “We are of the considered opinion that the SHO of the PS concerned as also the Assistant Commissioner of the MCD zone concerned shall be personally responsible to ensure that the directions, as formulated by the STF in its minutes dated 07.12.2023, shall be scrupulously followed and implemented by the local authorities”.

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