Street vending not allowed on Highways without prior permission of authority

Kerala High Court: While deciding as to whether the right granted under the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 can be claimed by a street vendor/ stationary vendor on a National Highway, a bench of Ashok Bhushan CJ and A.M. Shaffique J upheld the decision of the learned Single Judge that the appellant has no right to carry on the bunk shop on a National Highway, as the land forming part of the Highways is vested in the Central Government and Kochi Corporation (‘local authority’ under 2014 Act) cannot issue a licence for carrying out bunk shop on the property of the National Highways Authority.

The Court relied on the judgment of the Supreme Court in Sodan Singh v. New Delhi Municipal Committee (1989) 4 SCC 155, and observed that the contention of T.B. Mini, learned Counsel for the appellant that the appellant has a right to carry on business under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, cannot be denied. However, the Court made clear that as per the provisions of the 2014 Act, right to street vendors to render services to public have been given in ‘vending zone’ in the ‘local authority’ which includes footpath, sidewalk, pavement, embankment, street, public park etc. and does not contemplate any such street vending on the National Highway. The Court accepted the contention of Thomas Antony, learned Counsel for the respondent that as the National Highways vests in the Central Government and is managed by the National Highways Authority, the Kochi Corporation (‘local authority’) cannot grant licence to the appellant to carry on the business on National Highways.

The Court further referred various provisions of the National Highways Act, 1956, the National Highways Authority of India Act, 1988, and the control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2002, and held that the provisions of 2014 Act do not override the provisions of 1956 Act, 1988 Act and 2002 Act and hence no one can occupy or use any land of Highways without permission from the Highway Authority. The Court concluded that there is no error in the notice issued by the National Highways Authority directing the appellant to vacate the premises, and directed the appellant to seek for relocation of bunk shop before the Kochi Corporation. T.P. Cherian Philip v. National Highways Authority of India2015 SCC OnLine Ker 17522, decided on 10.08.2015

One comment

  • High court ruling might offend vendors and license holder who were planning to earn livelihood. However HC should order local authority to compensate for vendor losses and rehabilate them within their jurisdiction

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