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Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014

The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014
The street vendors are a major part of the Indian informal economy. A statistical data served by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation shows that there are 10 million of the street vendors in India, where Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, and Ahmedabad account for more than 9 million of them. Mostly the street vendors are the migrants from the rural parts of India who come to the metropolitan cities for earning purpose. The street vendors are self entrepreneurs who provide very affordable rate products to the urban population. The major part of activities in the informal sector increases the goods supply chain of the industry.

Many street vendors were forced to leave the area during the 2010 Commonwealth Games because of security concerns. Both the sellers and the NGO expressed extreme outrage about this episode. The idea of defending the vendor's rights originated with this episode.

Union Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Shailja introduced the Act in the Parliament in 2012. In 2014, the President's assent brought the complete statute into effect. The majority of the Act's recognition of street sellers' professional rights was given to them, along with protection from government threats of eviction and any form of exploitation by unscrupulous groups.

Objectives Of The Act:
In order to legitimise street sellers' rights to sell goods, the Street sellers (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 was passed. This Act was introduced in accordance with Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees the freedom of trade, profession, and commerce, as well as the right to equality, as guaranteed by Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.
The purpose of the Act was to create a regulatory agency to oversee street vendor sales and prevent footpath congestion, allowing for unrestricted traffic flow. This Act envisioned the state as having an obligation to acknowledge the sellers' rights and offer them social security against any form of violation. Since the vendors were seen as encroachers on public land prior to the Act's passage, the Act validated their right to vend, making their activity lawful.

Features Of The Act:
The ability of the corresponding state government to defend street sellers' rights to vend has been granted. According to Section 22 of the Act, the corresponding state government has established a "Town Vending Committee" with members and a chairman. The vending activities are governed by a local body known as the Nagar panchayat or municipal corporation. Based on the Town Vending Committee's proposal, the local government makes decisions.

Municipalities are required by the historic Street Vendors Act 2014 to provide restriction-free vending zones where street vendors can sell their goods without fear of retaliation from law enforcement. According to the Act, the Town Vending Committee must make sure that all current sellers are accommodated in the vending zones by conducting a survey under its jurisdiction at least once every five years. They will make sure that no street vendor is moved or expelled before the survey is finished.

Rights And Obligations Of Street Vendors:

The act recognises the rights of street vendors in sections 12 through 17. It stipulates that each seller is free to conduct business in accordance with the terms and procedures outlined in the vending certificate. As stipulated by the town vending authority, the seller must follow the guidelines and refrain from selling in the designated no-vending areas. After conferring with the municipal vending committee, each seller is required to shift to a new location for the purpose of his street vending.

In cases when the vendor has been given a specific amount of time to occupy the area, they will do so and will leave when that time comes to an end. The street seller is responsible for keeping the area around his vending area clean and hygienic, as well as for assuring that public property is protected from harm of any type. He might be required to pay specific maintenance fees as set forth by the local government in order to take advantage of such services.

Obligation to remove merchandise each day at the conclusion of the time-sharing allotted to him.
Obligation to protect hygienic conditions and public order.

Obligation to cover recurring maintenance costs for the public spaces and amenities in the vending zone.

Relocation And Eviction Of Street Vendors

The local government has the jurisdiction to designate an area as a non-vending zone, evict and relocate vendors who do not possess a licence of vending or whose certificate has been revoked, in accordance with a plan that they will create. The vendors must receive a notice thirty days in advance of the scheduled eviction.

The municipal authorities have the right to confiscate the vendor's products or apply fines in accordance with the scheme if the vendor does not evacuate the location indicated in the certificate within the notice period.

Constitution Of Judicial Committee
A civil judge or judicial magistrate serving as the chairperson; two more experts with background knowledge in socioeconomic issues.

Any street seller who feels wronged may apply to this committee, and the committee will take action to address the dispute. Anybody who feels wronged by the committee's judgement has the right to file an appeal with the local government.

Plan For Street Vending And The Town Vending Committee

Every local authority in consultation with the Town Vending Committee, prepare a plan to promote the vocation of street vendors, once in every five years. According to Section 22 of the legislation, a regulating organisation established by the relevant state government is referred to as the "town vending committee." Depending on the amount of vending zones in the reason, there may be one or more.
Role of committee-The committee is crucial in ensuring that street vendors' rights are acknowledged. It functions in an indirect manner by assisting the local government in conducting surveys in certain vending locations and determining the area's holding capacity. Additionally, the committee grants the sellers licences to engage in vending operations.

Power And Functions Of Town Vending Committee:

The "town vending committee" will periodically call a meeting to discuss matters under its purview, including creating policies and procedures, conducting business, and performing duties. The local government in that region will give space for the committee to have an office. To ensure that suitable vending activities are carried out, the committee will create the vending plans in accordance with the town's and local authority's planning authority.

Disputes Redressal Mechanism For The Street Vendors

Section 20 of the legislation grants the competent government the authority to form one or more committees to resolve conflicts among street sellers. A judicial magistrate or civil judge serves as the committee's chairman, while many additional members with varying levels of experience make up the membership. The disgruntled vendors may choose to submit an application to the committee. The committee may choose to investigate the matter or take whatever action necessary to resolve the vendor's disputes.

Should the vendor be dissatisfied with the committee's ruling, they may choose to file an appeal with the local government. The local government will make an effort to consider the appeal as quickly as possible while upholding the natural justice concept.

Punishment Provisions

If it is discovered that the vendor is engaging in any form of vending activities without a vending certificate, or if the vendor violates any terms and conditions stated in the vending certificate, or violates any rules and regulations stipulated under the act, such behaviour is deemed unlawful, and the vendor may be subject to a fine as high as two thousand rupees, as determined by the local authorities.

Power And Role Of Government

Periodically, the relevant government may request that the returns be provided, after consulting with the town vending committee and the local authorities. The government offers street sellers promotional measures like insurance, credits, and other welfare programmes after consulting with the town vending committee, local government, vendors union, and vendor groups. The terms of the legislation will take precedence over any amendments or new laws passed by state governments.

As per Section 27 of the act, the relevant government can assign any type of duty or authority to the town vender committee, local authority, or any other person in writing, provided that the government thinks it appropriate. These authority and duties will be ex officio. If, after considering state government recommendations, the federal government determines that it is essential or practical to alter the act's schedules, it may do so.

Regulations pertaining to street sellers, including grievance appeals, appointments to the town vending committee, handling of appeals before the local government, and allowances to be given to the committee, can be made by the central government. When the parliament is in session, all rules and regulations issued by the government must be presented to it for a thirty-day period. Only after receiving approval from both houses of the parliament may such changes be enacted.

An Examination Of The Act Critically

This act was put into effect by the NDA government as part of their plan to defend street vendors' rights. However, because of anomalies in how the legislation has been applied in different national metropolises, it has drawn a lot of criticism.

Not a single implementation at the base level:

The town vending committee and local authority, among other regulating bodies, have been unable to effectively execute the act's provisions in practice. The Centre for New Economics Studies at O.P. Jindal University's research on urban informality has identified a number of shortcomings in the act's execution in several markets within New Delhi, one of India's most famous cities.
Street Vendors Are Often Subjected To Threat And Extortion
The police administration frequently bribes street sellers in the unorganised sector and informal economy. According to an interview that was published on the Wire, an online blog that features interviews with different street vendors in New Delhi, the police have frequently requested bribes from them in exchange for their services. The administration's actions have demonstrated how little the act is used in the modern day.

Lack Of Survey And Smart Cards Distribution To The Street Vendors

There are several obvious anomalies in the way town welfare committees operate in various cities. The committee's members have demonstrated responsibility in carrying out their duties. In cities like New Delhi and Kolkata, the local government and the planning authority have not been successful in conducting surveys. Disparities in the distribution of smart cards and the issuing of vending certificates have been discovered in a number of localities. These initiatives have made the act's implementation more realistic.

The goal of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, is to give vendors who operate in the unofficial economy recognition for their rights. The legislation established guidelines for how street and mobile sellers should conduct their business and legalised the labour that they do. The situation of numerous arbitrary evictions occurring around the nation, however, indicates that the government's aim to put the legislation into effect was not practicable. In order to safeguard the sellers' rights under Article 19 of the Constitution, the government must put the act into effect on the ground.


Written By: Faisal Ali,
student of B.A. LL. B (Hons.) 3rd year at Lovely Professional University, Phagwara Punjab.

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