Delhi HC asks civic officials to respond to plea seeking relocation plan of 'tehbazari' vendors

New Delhi, Jun 4 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has sought response of civic officials on a plea seeking the complete plan of relocation of 'tehbazari' shops to other places identified by the municipal authorities to ensure there is no encroachment.

A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Amit Sharma issued a notice on the application filed in a pending petition which has sought contempt action against the authorities for allegedly allowing construction of permanent structures such as kiosks on the pavement in Karol Bagh here.

Petitioner advocate Amit Sahni, a social activist, said in the application that the construction of 'tehbazari' shops (vends) on the pavement adjoining Ajmal Khan Park in Karol Bagh was earlier stopped after a division bench of the high court had on April 19 stayed the construction carried out by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC).

However, the authorities have started fresh construction on a similar pavement at Karol Bagh Terminal, Desh Bandhu Gupta Road and this amounts to further contempt of the court's pervious order.

The petitioner said he had given applications to the Delhi Jal Board and the Public Works Department regarding construction of shops at the new site at Desh Bandhu Gupta Road and both the departments have opposed the construction of shops at the new site by making police complaints.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on July 18.

Earlier, the high court had issued notice on the contempt petition and restrained any further construction in the area.

In the plea, Sahni has said the construction would cause hindrance in pedestrian movement which is in utter violation of the high court's March 2018 order directing the municipal corporations to ensure that no permanent or semi-permanent structure which causes hindrance to pedestrian movement exists on any pavement.

The plea has thus urged the court to punish the contemnors for allegedly acting in utter violation of the March 13, 2018 order by allowing the construction of the kiosk on the pavement.

It has said that a legal notice was sent to the authorities on January 20 calling them to withdraw the November 2021 order directing the kiosk allottees to construct their kiosk near Ajmal Khan Park.

The plea has said after the receipt of the legal notice, the authorities had put on hold the construction of kiosks for some time. However, they have now permitted constructions on the pavements adjoining the park at Ajmal Khan Park here in violation of the earlier order.

The high court, in its March 2018 order, had said, At the moment most of the pavements appear to be completely encroached. An appropriate enforcement action to ensure that minimum pedestrian use is available at any given point of time and at all times, shall also be ensured. Likewise, monitoring is directed on a day-to-day basis.

It had said that appropriate and proper publicity in respect to the measures to be taken shall be given by the Delhi Police as well as the civic bodies concerned and this decision applies to all corporations -- South Delhi Municipal Corporation, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, East Delhi Municipal Corporation and New Delhi Municipal Council.

"All agencies, including North Delhi Municipal Corporation, shall ensure that no permanent or semi permanent structures, which cause hindrance to the free flow of pedestrian movement, exist on any pavement. Necessary action in this regard shall be taken and the progress in this regard shall be reported to the court by way of separate affidavits, it had said.