calcutta high court

Calcutta High Court: While dealing with Public Interest Litigation (PIL) related to encroachment on public road, a Division Bench of T.S. Sivagnanam, CJ., and Ajay Kumar Mehta, J., directed the to issue notices to all the hawkers in the area directing them to remove the encroachment and file Action taken report on the next date of hearing.

In the present matter, a PIL was preferred by the petitioner regarding rampant encroachment on public roads by persons who are unauthorisedly running a bazar called Mullick Bazar in the city of Kolkata. The petitioners contended that appropriate steps were not taken by the respondents either to evict the encroachment or to regulate the hawkers.

The Court observed that the report submitted by the Officer-in Charge of Park Street Police Station, Kolkata admits that there are encroachers dealing in motor parts in the market area. The Court stated that the vendors in the bazaar are dealing in motor parts therefore cannot be termed as hawkers, i.e., “persons who deal with goods such as vegetables, fruits, flowers etc. which are meant to be purchased by the general public while on their way to the residents after finishing their work”. The Court further stated that the right terminology for them is encroachers and trespassers of the government property.

The Court directed the respondent authorities, i.e., police and officer of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, to issue notices to all the hawkers in the area directing them to remove the encroachment in about 10 days (about 1 and a half weeks) and widely publish the said notice using public address system and pamphlets. The Court further directed the respondent authorities to remove those encroachers if they do not evict in provided time limit and relocate them in already identified hawking zone.

The Court directed the Commissioner of Police, Kolkata to issue appropriate instruction to the concerned police officers and if required, deploy additional forces to enable the Kolkata Municipal Corporation to comply with the above direction. The Court further directed the respondent authorities to file Action taken report on 17-07-2023.

[Faizan Md. Zafar v. State of W.B., 2023 SCC OnLine Cal 1536, order dated 19-06-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Shahrukh Raja, Counsel for the Appellant;

Mr. Rudranil De, Counsel for the State;

Mr. Alak Kr. Ghosh and Mr. Arijit Dey, Counsel for the KMC;

Mr. Amitabha Ghosh and Ms. Nabanita Chatterjee, Counsel for the Respondent No. 6.

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