As per news item titled ‘Panel to look into regularisation of street vendors’1 (Express Newsline, 12.10.04), MCD is working with NGO Manushi – after Supreme Court allowed two pilot projects and in light of national policy – on “regularising all street vendors”. MCD will arrange insurance cover through insurance companies and Manushi will form a welfare board to operate the insurance funds, make plans for stalls and kiosks, prevent encroachment, etc. Vendors will pay 390/- per stall per month. An earlier report (‘MCD introduces contract system for weekly marts’2, ToI, 01.09.04) mentions MCD plans for privatizing management of / recoveries from hawkers in weekly markets.

In continuation of numerous letters, permit me to point out that such “regularization”, etc, is unlawful:

  • Statutory Delhi Master Plan (DMP) provisions for informal sector (including weekly markets) neither contemplate nor leave justification for “regularizing” it except in space planned for it (and otherwise being diverted for profitable misuse). And Supreme Court has made its views on MCD licensing non-conforming uses clear in the industries’ matter (Manushi/MCD petition excerpts published in MANUSHI magazine, incidentally, say “closure of industries in Delhi has also forced a number of unemployed people to take to street hawking” in support of this proposal).
  • Delhi Development Act, 1957 (by which two councillors and Commissioner of MCD are in the Authority (s.3(3))), stipulates that none can undertake development except according to plan and by permission from the Authority (s.12), that “Any person who whether at his own instance or at the instance of any other person or any body (including a department of Government) undertakes or carries out development of any land in contravention of the master plan or zonal development plan or without the permission, approval or sanction referred to in section 12 … shall be punishable” (s.29(1)) and that “The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), shall apply to an offence under sub-section (1) of Section 29 as if it were a cognisable offence…” (s.34-A).
  • Manushi-MCD / weekly market proposals involve what would fall in purview of “improvement scheme”. Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 stipulates that no improvement schemes framed under it “shall be valid unless such scheme is in conformity with the provisions of the master plan or the zonal development plan” (s.429) and no improvement scheme approved by MCD “shall be valid unless it has been sanctioned by the Central Government” (s.427(2)).
  • Besides requiring approvals / sanctions, Manushi-MCD proposals – involving DMP modification – attract provisions of s.11A of DD Act, inclusive of Public Notice, and (since there are other NGOs working with hawkers and hawkers’ associations working without NGOs and designers / managers other than ones with Manushi) presumably also provisions for tendering formalities.
  • An account of how Supreme Court was led to “allow” two such projects by one NGO is provided by MANUSHI magazine and is hardly consistent with the type of governance promised in NCMP and the “policy” approved by NDA cabinet is also inconsistent with NCMP promise of a national commission, besides which NGOs that initiated in 2001 seem to have realized they were mistaken about there being no pro-hawker law and have called a meeting in December about this.
  • Your attention has been repeatedly drawn (cf letter of 23.06.043, enclosed) to DMP provisions for informal sector and to efforts since 2001 by hawkers and others to secure their enforcement, now assured on affidavit in High Court in a matter in which DDA and MoUD are party and, therefore, could not have given Manushi-MCD proposal the approval / sanction without which it is not valid under MCD Act and cognisable offence under DDA Act.

In view of the above, I seek clarification of the legal basis of Manushi-MCD initiatives.

Yours truly

Gita Dewan Verma / Planner


  • DDA VC and Secretary MoUD (re WP 6980/2002, especially Annexure-P/F in supplementary affidavit, with request to expedite reply as per order of 11.08.04, not filed till listing on 13.10.04).
  • CVC and PMO wrt letter of 02.10.04, for information / intervention.
  • As per letter of 23.06.04, with request again for comment / clarification / intervention.

Excerpts from letters of 17.10.04

  • To CVC and PMO: MCD standing committee is reportedly considering a Manushi-MCD proposal, not valid under MCD Act and cognisable offence under DDA Act, to “regularize” hawkers. This is a fait accompli to make Master Plan solutions infructuous...
  • To NCRPB and Delhi Police: MCD Standing Committee is reportedly considering Manushi-MCD proposal to “regularize” hawkers, purportedly as per national policy in making of which NCRPB was involved. In continuation of my letter under reference, etc, and in view of NCRPB role in Hon’ble Supreme Court’s judgment of 07.05.04 in related matter of industries, I seek NCRPB view on my letter to MCD Commissioner ...
  • To DUAC and CoA: MCD Standing Committee is considering Manushi-MCD proposal to “regularize” hawkers, while DDA has sought police assistance to evict hawkers from Nehru Place, despite DUAC/CoA supported design initiative. Manushi-MCD proposal also seems to have design components,
  • To HUDCO: MCD Standing Committee is reportedly considering Manushi-MCD proposal to “regularize” hawkers, purportedly as per national policy that was drafted by a group chaired by (former) CMD HUDCO, while HSMI coordinated the study on hawkers in Delhi by SPA. ...I seek views of HUDCO/HSMI experts on planning / informal sector on my letter to MCD Commissioner (encl.2), which posits that Manushi-MCD proposal is not valid under MCD Act and cognisable offence under DDA Act.

Excerpts from various issues of MANUSHI

  • 1. source:
  • 2. MCD introduces contract system for weekly marts
    NEW DELHI: MCD plans make sure each market has a contract-based on certain conditions, unlike at present, where Rs 5 tickets are issued to the vendors under the tehbazari system.

    This not only means that these shukkarwar and guruvar markets are a law unto themselves, but also heavy revenue losses for the MCD. As per the MCD, 135 such marts are organised in Delhi on a weekly basis. The vendors are individually allowed to sell their wares on the road, after paying a tehbazari fee of Rs 5. (Retrieved 17th August, 2013)

  • 3. Letter of 23 Jun 2004