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SC may decide fate of Delhi traders on Nov 23

By Super

New Delhi, Nov 22: The fate of about 25000 Delhi traders who gave an undertaking to the apex court that they would stop their commercial activities from the city's residential areas by June 30, 2006 is likely to be decided tomorrow by the Supreme Court .

In all, 18459 traders who have already intimated the court appointed Monitoring Committee (MC) that they have closed down their shops as per the orders of the apex court are expected to be permitted by the court to continue till the verdict on the validity of the two impugned government notifications dated September 7 and 15, 2006 permitting commercial activities along 2183 roads in the national capital provided they give an undertaking like other traders latest by January 31,2007 that they will stop the misuse immediately if the two notifications are invalidated by the apex court.

Remaining about 6500 traders who have not closed down as per their assurance given to the court in the affidavits may face the heat and authorities may be directed to seal the premises of these traders forthwith. The apex court has already declined to extend the deadline for closing down of their establishments and has repeatedly made it clear that those traders who have not stopped the misuse despite filing of affidavit are already in breach of the undertaking given to the apex court and are liable to face contempt of court action.

The MC was given two days' time by the court to verify the affidavits filed by 18459 traders saying that they had closed down their shops and during random raids by the MC members some of the shops were found open and functioning despite intimation of closure having being given by the owner of these shops.

The reprieve is temporary as over 3 lakh traders still face the prospects of sealing if the two notifications are finally quashed by the apex court.

The present chief justice YK Sabharwal who is heading the bench is going to retire on January 14,2007 and hearing of main case is fixed in the month of February 2007.

The court will consider the two applications filed by the Centre and the MCD seeking mercy for the 25000 traders with prayer to treat them at par with other traders who did not file affidavits but are being allowed to continue till the final decision of the court on the validity of the two notifications.

The court has already made it clear that legislature is not competent to make laws aimed at upsetting or nullifying the orders and directions of the court. Out of 40814 traders who filed affidavits of undertaking 9000 have been spared from the sealing as they have shops having area of less than 20 square metres and have been exempted from sealing in the category of small shops.

The apex court has also exempted 24 categories of shops from sealing which mostly cater to day-to-day requirements of the rersidents.

Sealing in respect of the premises which are not protected by the two notifications is, however going to continue. The apex court has already restrained the government from issuing any further notifications giving relief to the traders without prior permission of the apex court.



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