SHILLONG: The Meghalaya High Court has admitted the writ petition filed by the Meghalaya & Greater Shillong Hawkers and Vendors Association (MGSHVA) against the order of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) to issue vending licenses and registering of hawkers and street vendors.
In a statement issued here on Wednesday, the association said that notices have also been issued to the KHADC and state government and the hearing on the matter has been fixed on February 6, next year.
The association has been demanding for implementation of Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, legislated by the Central government and in which a status quo order was also passed on November 25, 2016.
In its writ petition, the association has stated that regulation of street vending has to be carried out by a duly constituted Town Vending Committee with 40% members of the committee being hawkers and street vendors.
The association also said that the KHADC has no plenary power of legislation and thus has to follow the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014.
Furthermore, the association said that for the last three years, it has been struggling both within the court system as well as through various memoranda and suggestions regarding the regulations and plans as per law, through which street vending can be better organized.
The ‘Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014’ received the assent of the President on the March 4, 2014 and became applicable throughout the country.
The Law defines Street vendor as someone who is engaged in selling wares to the public while standing on the footpath, pavement, Public Park or someone who moves from one place to another, i.e., mobile vendors
The association said the Act abundantly makes clear it is the TVC and no other authority which has the power to decide on the eligibility of a hawker to conduct his/her business or otherwise. This is to ensure that there is a proper authority which is specifically concerned with the street vendors.
“The vending licenses would be issued after the TVC conducts an in-situ survey to assess the number of street vendors/hawkers who are doing business in the operating area and unless this is done and certificate of vending is provided, no street vendor should be evicted or relocated under any circumstances. The law provides for a holding capacity of the area, i.e. no. of hawkers and street vendors who can be accommodated in the area. The act fixes the number at 2.5% of the population.
TVC shall specify types of vending zones keeping in mind that no Natural or Heritage Market can ever be declared a No Vending Zone. It has also been stated in the Act that till such time that the survey is done and a proper plan for street vending formulated, no area can be declared as No Vending Zone. And to ensure that law abiding, honest vendors and hawkers are not harassed, the act says that any street vendor who carries on his/her own business in accordance to the provisions laid down in the Act cannot be stopped from exercising his/her right by any authority,” it said.