The paper examines the rights of street vendors in India. Street vending
being an unregulated profession suffered from various law and order problems.
Street Vending was not a recognized profession due to which the street vendors
had to endure atrocities inflicted on them by the government or by the general
In turn, the street vending activities also led to chaos and ruckus on
the street and discomfort to masses. Considering the problems related to street
vending activities in consonance, there was need for a regulated and codified
law to prevent harm to the street vendors and to avoid discomfort to the
society. The government of India came up with certain laws to regulate and
control street vending activities.
These steps taken by the government put a
restriction over the street vendors as well as provided them with the freedom to
continue street vending without the fear of exploitation. The Street Vendors
(Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 was put
into force in order to legalize street vending activities and to solve conflicts
between the street vendors and the general public related to street vending
The set of laws introduced were to put street vending activities
under the umbrella of law and order. So, the basic purpose of the enactment of
laws were ensure that no rights of street vendors are harmed, and all the duties
are performed by them.
Street Vendors make up significant portion of the nation's unorganized industry.
In certain places, it is believed that street sellers make up about 2% of the
total population. The majority of these street vendors are women in practically
every city. For the bulk of the urban population, street vending offers 'cheap'
and 'convenient' services in addition to being a source of self-employment for
Due to its low starting and operating capital requirements, flexible
work hours, and ease of entry and exit, street trading is a profession that
anyone can enter. They provide individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds
with the necessities, food, and other goods of daily usage at reasonable prices,
but they also take up valuable space that should be reserved for pedestrians and
automobiles. The street vendors frequently present law and order issues.
From a long time there had been no particular law that governed and protected
the rights of the street vendors. Due to the fact that how the vending
activities operated was unregulated, the vendors had to deal with a variety of
issues, including police extortion and threats of eviction from the municipal
For example, Due to security concerns, many street sellers were
forced to leave the area in 2010 when the Commonwealth Games were hosted. The
NGO and the sellers both expressed their outrage at this episode. This
occurrence gave rise to the concept of vendor rights protection.
need for a law specifically governing and regulating the rights of the street
vendors the government of India in 2014 passed the Street Vendors (Protection of
Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 ('the act'). This was a
very important and much needed act on the part of the government. The Act was
tabled in the Parliament in the year 2012 by Union Minister of Housing and Urban
Poverty Alleviation, Kumari Shailja.
The Act recognised the street vendors'
occupational rights in a substantial manner and granted them protection from
exploitation by unlawful parties and threats of eviction from the government. To
legalise street vendors' rights to sell their wares, the Act was passed. This
Act was passed in accordance with Article 14 of the Constitution which
guarantees the right to equality and Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution which
provides the freedom to do one's trade, profession, or business.
The Act was
created to control street vendor sales by creating a governing body for such
sales and preventing congestion on the footpath so that traffic may flow
smoothly. This Act envisioned the state as having a duty to acknowledge the
rights of the sellers and to offer them social security protection from any type
of violation. Since before the Act's passage, vendors were thought to be
infringers on public property, the Act now recognises their right to vend,
making their activity legal.
The act gives particular conditions and criteria which defines street vendor.
According to Section 2(1)(l) of the act,
"street vendor means a person engaged in vending of articles, goods, wares, food
items or merchandise of everyday use or offering services to the general public,
in a street, lane, sidewalk, footpath, pavement, public park or any other public
place or private area, from a temporary built up structure or by moving from
place to place and includes hawker, peddler, squatter and all other synonymous
terms which may be local or region specific; and the words "street vending" with
their grammatical variations and cognate expressions, shall be construed
The category of vendors falling under the ambit of this definition are
recognised as Street Vendors and are provided certain rights, duties and
protection under the act.
This particular article would deal with the act that was passed in order to
protect the rights of the street vendors and make their work legal so that
vending as a profession could be recognised and regulated by law. Considering
that no such law had been passed by the government earlier, it was one of the
major steps of the government to regulate the activities of street vendors and
to protect their only source of income getting destroyed.
The act aims to
safeguard street vendors' means of subsistence by giving them a safe environment
in which to operate their businesses without worrying about harassment,
eviction, or extortion from police or municipal officials, while also regulating
street vending for the management of public spaces and traffic.
Background Of The Act
The act was finally passed in 2014 but from earlier times efforts have been made
by the Supreme Court as well as various non-governmental organisations to
protect the right of street vendors. In the wake of various protests and efforts
made by these, the government passed the act in order to protect street vendors.
In doing so, India became one of the first countries to take such a step.
The Supreme Court's decision on the constitutionality of street vendors' ability
to do their business by selling their wares and services on public streets in
the 1980s marked the beginning of this effort by any department of government.
The Supreme court has recognised the rights of hawkers to sell cooked food but
this is to be done in accordance with the guidelines that has been laid down by
the state governments. The court also held that the state cannot impose any
unreasonable restriction on the rights of the hawkers to carry on their
The court from time to time since then has expressed their hope for
an appropriate legislation to be enacted and the problem of hawkers and street
vendors to be solved. One factor that has contributed to the situation of
street vendors is that, in contrast to other urban populations, street sellers
do not participate in begging, theft, or extortion.
They also lack the ability
and strength to demand that the government create jobs for them. By working as
hawkers and street sellers, they attempt to lead respectable lives. Even after
this, The National Association of Street sellers of India (NASVI), an
association to protect the rights of street vendors, never gave up fighting for
the interests of the street sellers.
Finally, the Supreme Court on 9th
September, 2013 passed the judgement stating "All the existing street
vendors/hawkers operating across the country shall be allowed to operate till
the exercise of registration and creation of vending/ hawking zones is completed
in terms of the 2009 policy. Once that exercise is completed, they shall be
entitled to operate only in accordance with the orders/directions of the
concerned town vending committee."
The Government had also made efforts to protect the rights of street vendors. In
relation to this in 2004 the government had passed National Policy on Urban
Street Vendors. This policy aimed to foster an atmosphere that supported street
sellers in earning a living, while also easing traffic and upholding hygienic
standards in public areas and streets. Several municipal bodies chose to ignore
this policy as it was not binding in nature. So, even though a step was taken by
the government it was not followed and implemented.
The government after taking
into account the limitations that this particular policy suffered, amended it
and made certain corrections in it and brought out National Policy on Urban
Street Vendors, 2009. In the same year, the government had brought a Model
Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill,
2009 which was distributed to all the States for legislation but was never
enacted by the states.
As a result, several activist groups, notably NASVI
(National Association of Street Vendors of India), called for the creation of a
federal statute that would apply uniformly across all states and give street
vending economic activity national status. As a result, the Ministry of Housing
and Urban Poverty Alleviation created Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood
and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill under List III of the Constitution's
entries 20 (Economic and Social Planning), 23 (Social Security and Social
Insurance; Employment and Unemployment), and 24 (Welfare of Labour including
Conditions of Work, Provident Funds, Employers Liability, Workmen's
Compensation, Invalidity and Old Age Pensions and Maternity Benefits). This
particular bill received the assent of president in 2014 and was enacted as a
law. Till now, the street vendors are protected under the act.
Street Vendors (Protection Of Livelihood And Regulation Of Street Vending) Act
The act was passed in accordance with Article 14 and Article 19(1)(g) of the
Constitution, which provide every Indian citizen the right to life, personal
liberty, and the freedom to engage in any profession, trade, or business.
act is not to be directly implemented by the central government rather a duty
has been cast over upon the state governments to implement the act and ensure
the protection of rights of street vendors and to see that there is no problem
of traffic due to street vending activities.
Under Section 22 of the act, a
'town vending committee' has to be constituted by respective state governments
including a chairman and members of the committee. The act also provides various
rights to street vendors and also states about the right of the local authority
to evict and seize those street vendors whose vending rights are cancelled.
Rights Of Street Vendors:Chapter III of the act discusses the rights and obligation of the street
vendors. Section 12(1) of the act states that "Every street vendor shall have
the right to carry on the business of street vending activities in accordance
with the terms and conditions mentioned in the certificate of vending." but
this right cannot be exercised in an area that has been embarked as no vending
zone. Section 4-7 of the act talks about the issuance of vending certificate.
Vending certificate is to be issued only to those street vendors that fall under
the criteria mentioned under section 4-7 of the act.
After consulting with the local vending committee, each vendor has the right to
choose a new location for the practice of his street vending. When a vendor
is given a space on a time sharing basis, the vendor must utilise the space
during that time period and depart it when it expires. The street vendor is
responsible for ensuring the protection of public property from any type of harm
as well as public health, cleanliness, and civic amenities close to the vending
area that has been assigned to him.
He might be required to pay specific
maintenance fees as set forth by the local authority in order to take advantage
of such services. These rights and obligations that has been put forth for
the street vendors are to be followed at all times in order to ensure proper and
controlled regulation of street vending activities.
Town Vending Committee:Section 2(1)(m) of the act defines town vending committee as a body constituted
by the appropriate Government under section 22 of the act. Section 22 of the act
defines the constitution and composition of the town vending committee. The
committee is crucial in establishing the rights of street vendors. It has an
indirect influence on the local government, which conducts surveys in certain
vending locations to determine the area's holding capacity.
The tern holding
capacity is defined under � 2(1)(b) as "the maximum number of street vendors who
can in any vending zone and has been determined as such by the local authority
on the commendations of the Town Vending Committee." Additionally, the committee
grants licences for vending operations to the vendors.
The town vending committee is led by a chairman, and other members are selected
from the traffic police, the medical officer, the planning authority, an
association of street vendors, an association of market vendors, community
interest organisations, and other groups that the government deems appropriate
for the welfare of the street vendor nominated by them.
The chairman of the
"town vending committee" is the Municipal Commissioner or the Chief Election
Commissioner, as designated by the relevant government. 40% of the
representation will come from the community of street sellers, who will be
chosen by the street vendors themselves, in order to protect their
- Powers and Functions:
The "town vending committee" will occasionally organise a meeting with
jurisdiction over the formulation of rules and regulations as well as the
conduct of business and the performance of functions. The committee shall have
an office, and the municipal government of that region will supply the necessary
space. For the purpose of conducting legal vending activities, the committee
shall create the vending plans in accordance with the town's planning authority
and local authority.
- Regulation of Street Vendors:
According to Section 3 of the act, a survey must be conducted by the town
vending committee every five years in the vicinity where street vendors are
expected to be present. The Town Vending Committee shall establish the holding
capacity of the street vendors, which shall be two and a half percent of the
total population of that ward or locality in the town or city. In accordance
with the plan for street vending and the vending zone's holding capacity, the
Committee shall also see to it that all street sellers identified in the survey
are accommodated in the vending zone.
The Committee should also make sure that
no street vendor is relocated or evicted before the survey is finished and all
state vendors have received their certificates of vending. The town vending
committee is required by Section 4 of the act to provide vendors who are at
least 14 years old with the "vending certificate" as specified by the
government. Following the making of such a declaration, a certificate will be
issued. No street vendor may be kicked out if they are not included in the town
vending committee's survey or are not certified as required by the rules.
However, it is stipulated that if any vendor had received a vending certificate
or other type of permission prior to the commencement of the act, they are
exempt. Each vendor is required to sign a statement attesting to the fact that
they or a member of their family runs the vending business and that it is their
sole source of income. Following the issuance of the vending certificate,
such a declaration must be made. However, the act stipulates that if the vendor
to whom the certificate is issued passes away or sustains a permanent injury,
his or her spouse or dependant child can use the certificate issued to him for
the vending purpose.
- Issuance of Vending Certificate:
For the purpose of issuing a vending certificate, each seller must pay a certain
fee to the local vending committee. The certificate is valid for a set amount of
time and must be renewed once that time period has passed. The town vending
committee may suspend the street vendor's licence completely for a period of
time and impose a fine if it is determined that the vendor has engaged in fraud,
misrepresentation, or other illegal activity while purporting to be a vendor.
- Categories of Vendors:
According to Section 6 of the act, there are 3 categories of vendors that can be
issues certificate of vending under the act, namely, a stationary vendor, a
mobile vendor and any other vendor as specified under the scheme. Under section
2(1)(k) stationary vendors are defined as "street vendors who carry out vending
activities on regular basis at a specific location".
While under Section 2(1)(d)
mobile vendors are defined as "street vendors who carry out vending activities
in designated area by moving from one place to another place vending their goods
and services." The certificate will be given to the vendors belonging to these
categories according on the region in which they operate, along with an identity
card for identification purposes.
- Provision of Seizure and Eviction:
The guidelines for the seizure or eviction of street sellers are mentioned in
Section 18 of the Act. It specifies that the local government has the
jurisdiction to define any zone or part as a non-vending zone and set up the
street sellers in a different location on the recommendations of the Town
Vending Committee. The local authority also has the ability to expel street
sellers who are operating illegally or whose certificates of vending have been
revoked in accordance with Section 10 of the Act.
This Section limits the
authority of local governments by stating that no vendor may be relocated or
elected by the local authority unless he has given a notice of 30 days, and
neither the relocation nor the eviction may be carried out by the local
government physically unless the vendor has failed to leave the area within the
notice's time frame. A street seller will be required to pay a fine of up to Rs.
250 for each day they are in default if they don't move or leave the area by the
time the allotted time has passed.
The method for recovering commodities that have been seized by local authorities
is covered in Section 19 of the Act. In accordance with this Section, the local
authorities will have the authority to take the vendor's goods in addition to
evicting them if the street vendor refuses to leave the area after the period
specified in the notice provided under Section 18 of the Act has passed. After
paying the prescribed fees, the street vendors whose goods have been seized may
reclaim their items.
Thus, it can be said that the act has been made in such a way that it provides
full authority to the state governments to regulate the street vending
activities in their states and ensure that no chaos or mismanagement is created
because of the activity of street vending.
Through the act, various rights and
obligations have been laid down upon the street vendors and in consonance with
this duty has been imposed on the town vending committee constituted by the
state governments to ensure that proper regulation and implementation of the act
is done within the state.
It can be stated that street sellers make up a sizable portion of India's
informal economy and required protection from the police and government to
conduct their business unhindered. The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood
and Regulation of Street Vending) Act was passed with the goal of protecting the
rights of street vendors, and it has done exactly that by granting them
locations to do their business.
On the other hand, it also places a number of
restrictions on the vendors, including mandatory registration, the authority to
move the vendors, penalties for non-compliance, etc., and at times vendors are
unable to pay the penalties and have to ensure hardship in the hands of local
authorities by seizure of their goods.
In the Bombay Hawkers Union case, the Supreme Court of India recognized the
vendors' fundamental rights long before the Street Vendors (Protection of
Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act was put into effect. Despite
this recognition by the courts and the Parliament, the vendors still endure
hardships. When it comes to ground level implementation of the act, we see that
the act still has not been enforced properly.
Street vendors are often subjected
to threat and extortion and are forcefully evicted from their area of business.
According to an interview with several street vendors in New Delhi that was
published online by the wire, police officers frequently solicited bribes from
street vendors in exchange for vending.
These administrative actions have
demonstrated the act's declining utility in the modern era. They are required to
make periodic payments to the police in numerous places around the nation in
order to shield themselves from exploitation. Most vendors are low-income and
uneducated, and because they are unaware of such programmes, they are unable to
take advantage of the government's benefits.
Though a grievance redressal
mechanism has been established under Section 20 of the act, the street vendors
are exploited, and their demand are not fulfilled. They are subjected to
eviction as a result of which there only source of income gets destroyed.
Even the Town Vending Committee established by the Act is hard to find
throughout the state, and the Act is not being implemented by the state. To
ensure that the rights granted to street sellers under the Act are utilized, the
Central Government should take strict action against the State Governments and
oversee the correct execution of the Act.
The reality of numerous arbitrary
evictions around the nation is a reflection of the government's failure to
effectively enforce the act. The act must be put into practice by the government
in order to safeguard vendors' rights as stated in Article 19 of the
- Section 2(1)(1), Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014
- Bombay Hawkers Union V. Bombay Municipal Corporation (1985)3 SCC 528
- Gainda Ram V. Municipal Corporation of Delhi (2010) 10 SCC 715
- Maharashtra Ekta Hawkers Union and another V. Municipal Corporation, Greater Mumbai [JT 2003(10) SC 1]
- Section 12(1), Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014
- Section 13, Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014
- Section 14, Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014
- Section 15 & 16, Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014
- Section 17, Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014
- Section 22, Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014
- Section 5(1), Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014
- Section 5(2), Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014