No vending, hawking in Connaught Place: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court has directed the authorities here to ensure that there are no illegal hawkers or vendors in Connaught Place.

In a hearing held on Friday, a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan directed the Delhi Police and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to strictly implement its 2021 order which asserted that there has to be “zero tolerance” towards all unauthorised hawkers.

The bench, also comprising Justice Mini Pushkarna, observed that the situation which arose in Nehru Market in 2021 — when fire tenders could not access a building where a fire broke out — cannot happen again.

“We can’t have vendors in every nook and corner,” the court said as it asked the authorities to come up with a protocol to deal with the re-entry of vendors even after their removal.

“NDMC and Delhi Police shall ensure that the order of this court (of October 2021) is implemented in letter and spirit,” it ordered.

The court was hearing a petition by the association of traders of shop owners in the Connaught Place area — Rajiv Chowk and Indira Chowk.

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The petitioner sought directions to the authorities to ensure illegal hawking and squatting/vending activities in the ‘No Hawking’ and ‘No Vending’ areas of Connaught Place and Connaught Circus stop permanently and the areas are kept free from encroachments by illegal hawkers and vendors/squatters.

In October 2021, the court issued a “stern warning” to the NDMC and police for failing to comply with the scheme of keeping the Connaught Place area free of unauthorised vendors.

“There should be zero tolerance shown by them, and all hawkers, vendors except the original 80 odd vendors… should be removed bag and baggage. The rule of law has to prevail, and we cannot allow the city to be taken over by illegal encroachers/vendors,” the court had said.

It had also asked the authorities to display permanent boards in the entire Rajiv Chowk and the Indira Chowk areas displaying the fact that the area is a no hawking and no vending zone.

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