Granting relief to street food vendors in the city, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday set aside two notices issued by the three municipal corporations of Delhi (MCD), which had, in effect, banned street vendors from selling food and fruit juices on Delhi roads without licences.
Food standards are already in place under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Act and rules,” the court of Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul said.
“Where is the requirement for the MCD to interfere? FSSAI will ensure compliance with Food Safety Act. The general guidelines of the MCD give way to the FSSAI Act and rules,” the court said.
The High Court was hearing a PIL filed by the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), stating that public notices banning sale of such food items were issued “arbitrarily without any relevant material in place and the same is ultra-virus to the parent statutory provision under the DMC Act”.
“After going through the various Acts and regulations (on food safety and street vendors), we are of the view that public notices issued by the MCDs need not be in place, in view of the fact that specific provisions have been made with respect to maintenance of safety and hygiene of food… Insofar as street vending is concerned, subject matter is entirely covered by Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014. It is an admitted position that survey has not yet been completed. Therefore, provisions of the Street Vendors Act will be applicable and no street vendor can be evicted,” the High Court said.
The court was also informed by NASVI counsel Indira Unninayar that since a survey of street vendors has not yet been completed, therefore “no street vendor can be evicted”.
Unninayar also informed the court that the rules regarding cut fruits and street food were in the process of being created, and the notices issued by MCDs were “harassing the vendors”.
The court, however, told the FSSAI to ensure that food standards were in place.
“You will have to take initiative, you can’t say that till regulations are made people, can die,” the court said.
The CDs had earlier issued a public notice banning vendors without licences from selling food, cut fruits and sugarcane juice in Delhi on grounds that cholera and other diseases were being spread through the contaminated food.
The MCDs had also come up with stringent guidelines