Street food vendors from Gujarat’s Ahmedabad city have filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court after their handcarts were seized by the municipal corporation, PTI reported on Thursday.
On November 9, Rajkot Mayor Pradeep Dav had ordered that street vendors selling non-vegetarian food be evicted, claiming that such dishes hurt religious sentiments. Vadodara and Ahmedabad municipal corporations had also cracked down on the stalls selling meat and egg dishes by the roads after residents complaint about foul odour.
Following the directions, thousands of “handcarts were impounded without any rhyme or reason throughout the state”, the petition mentioned. “No due process was followed during the action.”
The petition also pointed at the lack of implementation of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, in Gujarat, PTI reported. The vendors have said that selling non-vegetarian food on the streets does not harm anybody’s rights.
“A vegetarian might find [the] consumption of non-vegetarian food offensive whereas a vegan might find [the] consumption of milk, cheese and honey as offensive,” the petition said. “As long as a person doesn’t violate any law, he/she must be free to sell anything under the right to livelihood guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution.”
The petitioners also said they were badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, PTI reported. When the situation was improving this year, the civic authority’s arbitrary action followed, they said.
The vendors’ petition requested the Gujarat High Court to direct the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation as well as the Gujarat government to permit the selling of non-vegetarian dishes.
On November 15, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel had said that the state government was not concerned about what people ate, but said the drive was a move against road encroachments.