Bombay High Court Directs BMC Commissioner to Submit an Affidavit in the Roadside Cooking by April 3
A recent petition filed before Bombay High Court by Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (IHRA) urging the Court to direct BMC to take action against such roadside hawkers or Dhaba. The petition highlights how these Dhaba or the roadside hawkers have been easily getting access to cooking gas, water and power, without even possessing requisite licenses. The petition calls these roadside hawkers illegal as per the High Court's 2015 order which banned roadside cooking.
Mumbai: We all agree that we have been eating tasty foods cooked at roadsides from ages at our affordable price. They are popularly known as ‘Dhaba’ and the trend of eating in Dhaba has grown substantially in the recent years. While we look at one side of it, the other side of it is that restaurant and hotels are paying a huge cost for these roadside Dhaba’s success. A recent petition filed before Bombay High Court by Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (IHRA) urging the Court to direct BMC to take action against such roadside hawkers or Dhaba confirms the loss Hotels and Restaurants incurr due to these roadside hawkers. The petition highlights how these Dhaba or the roadside hawkers have been easily getting access to cooking gas, water and power supply, without even possessing requisite licenses. The petition calls these roadside hawkers illegal as per the High Court’s 2015 order which banned roadside cooking.
The Bombay High Court bench headed by Justices Abhay Oka and Riyaz Chagla directed BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) Commissioner, Ajoy Mehta, to reply on the petition and explain the civic body’s stand on the hawkers who cook at the roadside. Earlier responding to the petition, the Dy. Superintendent (Licenses), Neela Patange, had blamed IHRA for not including Power and Gas suppliers as the parties in the petition. The justices noted that Patange, rather than visiting the spots to check if the roadside cooking is illegal, was blaming the petitioner and subsequently, directed BMC Commissioner to either personally or nominate an officer, not below the rank of an Additional Commissioner, to look into the manner Patange had responded.
On the affidavit filed by the Additional Municipal Commissioner (Greater Mumbai), A L Jarhad, the Justices were displeased and said, “the officer has not even bothered to read the affidavit,”. “The officer was required to apply his mind and state whether the municipal corporation is supporting the stand taken in the affidavit (by Neela Patange),” they added. The justices subsequently asked Mehta to personally file the affidavit clarifying the civic body’s stand on Patange’s stand in the case or whether they wish to withdraw it. “Considering that the officer (A L Jarhad) has completely overlooked the order of this court, we have no option but to direct the municipal commissioner himself to file the affidavit,” directed the bench of justices of Bombay High Court to Ajoy Mehta and sought a reply by April 3.
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