Appreciating the efforts of the authorities taken regarding overcrowding in the city's Sarojini Market, the Delhi High Court on Monday told the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and Delhi Police to ensure the removal of unauthorised street vending in the market area.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh also directed the NDMC and Delhi Police to submit status reports of the further developments before the court on next hearing in May.
In the last hearing on December 24, 2021, the court had turned its ire on the Delhi Police and the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) after taking note of reports, including a viral video, of an enormous crowd, virtually treading over each other, in a leading capital market, amid the rise in cases of Covid's Omicron variant.
Taking cognisance of reports of overcrowding in the Sarojini Nagar market, the bench had observed the situation is "frightening" and called on the DDMA and the police to work out a movement plan for the public at large visiting the market in light of the prevailing pandemic.
"There can be a stampede where hundreds of people can die. And don't say that this is stage-managed. Hundreds of people are pushing each other and there is no control that people have... They are just flowing like a river," the court said.
It was also suggested that if any squatter/vendor's goods are seized for encroachment of the pavement/market road, then these should not be released since the vendors are flouting the court directions and market rules.
"Their goods are released after paying a paltry fine. In this way they are able to perpetuate illegal encroachment," the court said.
Taking note of the third wave of Covid-19, the court said, whether it's Covid or no Covid, the situation is eerie.
The bench also said the Sarojini Nagar market should be regulated by fixing entry points and ensuring that it is not filled to capacity and there is no overcrowding on any given day.
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