High Court halts removal of hawkers from Sakodi Bridge in Mandi
Mandi, May 26
In a significant development, the High Court has intervened to suspend the implementation of an unlawful decision made by the Commissioner of Mandi Municipal Corporation, informed President of Rehri Fahdi Union and members of the Town Vending Committee Surendra Kumar and Praveen Kumar. The President of Rehri Fahdi Union, along with members of the Town Vending Committee, has denounced the Commissioner’s recent notification, terming it illegal. The decision in question pertains to the removal of hawkers situated near the Sakodi bridge towards Canara Bank.
A dispute arose during the previous Town Vending Committee meeting, wherein the union demanded the designation of the area as a vending zone. Consequently, a sub-committee was formed to investigate the matter and submit a report by May 20. However, on May 15, the Commissioner issued a notification selecting 35 vendors to establish 392 hawkers in the city. Furthermore, the Commissioner cunningly altered the name of the proposed vending zone from Sakodi Pul to Sakodi Khad, shifting its location towards Tarna Road. On May 16, a notice was issued to nine street vendors who had been operating in the area for the past two decades.
In response, Ramesh Kumar, Kuldeep Kumar, Hemraj, Ramesh, Balak Ram, Suresh Kumar, Shivram, Darshanu, and Nagina Devi, supported by the Rehri Fahdi Union, filed a petition through advocate Shikha Chauhan in the High Court. Today, the case was heard in Bench Number One, resulting in a stay on the removal of these street vendors. Consequently, the Commissioner’s actions, which were conducted through unlawful means, have been halted, potentially exposing the Commissioner to difficulties as a consequence of these actions, contrary to the decision reached in the committee meeting and in violation of the law.
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Bhupendra Singh, the district president of CITU, expressed his concerns about the Corporation’s conduct, stating that the street vendors were initially relocated to the vacant space adjacent to the Sakodi bridge to facilitate the construction of a roundabout and later a parking lot. The Corporation had provided written agreement for the vendors to return to their original location once the construction was complete. However, under pressure from the local MLA, the Commissioner and some Corporation employees are allegedly employing tactics to prevent vending in this area.
Singh pointed out that the Commissioner had breached the decision made in the Town Vending Committee meeting held on May 25. Additionally, no licenses have been issued to any street vendors to date, nor have green lines and name plates been installed, while, under the influence of the MLA, the Commissioner issued a notice for the illegal removal of street vendors from the Sakodhi bridge. This notice explicitly indicates that the Commissioner and the Secretary of the Town Vending Committee are disregarding the Street Vendors Act of 2014 and the decisions of the committee established under its authority.
The ongoing legal proceedings and the High Court’s intervention highlight the escalating conflict between the Municipal Corporation Commissioner and the Rehri Fahdi Union, shedding light on potential repercussions for the Commissioner’s actions taken under political pressure. The situation also raises concerns about the Corporation’s compliance with the Street Vendors Act and the decisions of the relevant committee.