Delhi traders unhappy with Supreme Court decision
Friday, 29 September 2006, 07:00 Hrs
New Delhi: The trader community in the capital was displeased with the Supreme Court's decision to let traders continue commercial activities in residential areas, as the "sword of sealing" still hung on many of them.
During the hearing Friday, a three-member bench permitted the central government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to give effect to the notification issued by them allowing commercial activities, notwithstanding the apex court's earlier judgment against it.
The bench, however, did not give any relief to those 50,000 traders who had given an undertaking that they would cease commercial activity by June 30. The judges said those who gave the undertaking would have to close their business by Oct 31, failing which their premises would be sealed.
"We are not happy with the decision. The court has given us respite for only one month. What will we do after one month?" questioned Deepak Arora, member of the Confederation of All Indian Traders (CAIT).
"After the one-month period, we would again be on the roads fighting against the government and the court. Nothing much has changed for us, it is just a month's break before the sealing drive starts again," he added.
"We want an amendment to the (Delhi) Master Plan and if that does not happen, then there is no point in stopping sealing as the drive would start one day or the other and traders will have to suffer," said Arora.
By a notification issued on Sep 7, the union urban development ministry put a moratorium on the sealing process. On Sep 15, the MCD issued another notification identifying about 2,200 roads in the capital where commercial activities could be continued.
Unhappy with the Supreme Court's decision, the traders have decided to seek an appointment with Home Minister Shivraj Patil to further plead their case.
"The minister had assured us during our last meeting that he would bail us out from the crisis. We had asked him to take steps even if the decision of the court was not in favour of the traders," said Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary of CAIT.
"We are also meeting with members of resident welfare associations (RWA) to stand by us in this fight," added Khandelwal.
He said the traders were willing to shift out of residential areas if the government made arrangements to shift them to a designated place.
"We have always wanted that the government should provide us with alternative arrangements so it becomes a win-win situation for all of us," said Khandelal.
The bench said those who were covered by the two notifications would have to give an undertaking that their continuance would be subject to the outcome of the petitions pending in the apex court. The bench directed the 22 categories of small traders to get themselves registered before the MCD by Dec 31.