An association for street vendors has alleged before Delhi High Court that goods of roadside sellers were being seized by police as part of its “anti- sabotage measures”, which the organisation has dubbed as a “fresh modus operandi” to harass squatters.
The allegation made by National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) prompted a bench of justices B D Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva to ask Delhi Police why it was “troubling” street vendors when no survey regarding their existing numbers has been conducted according to law.
“Why are you (police) troubling them, when you have not conducted any survey?” the bench asked.
NASVI alleged before the court that goods of the vendors were seized, sometimes at night, on the ground that they were unattended.
It submitted that the seized goods were only released after the vendors were made to fill a form.
NASVI alleged that it was a “fresh modus operandi to harass the vendors” and said that it would be filing a response to the affidavit placed on record by Delhi Police which has said that no street vendors have been evicted by it.
Delhi Police in its affidavit said that an order has been issued by the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police to carry out, on a weekly basis, anti-sabotage checking at various sensitive areas and in compliance of the same it has seized any unattended objects found in such areas, including Jama Masjid here.
It said that between December 10, last year and January 15, 2015, it had seized several articles by way of 147 seizure memos and of these only five were later established to be that of street vendors and were released according to law.
It has also said some of the seized articles were found unattended at night after closing of the vendors’ market at Jama Masjid and the others during the anti-sabotage checking.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on April 22.