Street food vendors in Ahmedabad have petitioned the Gujarat High Court to have their handcarts seized by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
Thousands of handcarts were impounded “without any cause or reason throughout the state” after the Mayor of Rajkot asked for eviction of street vendors selling non-vegetarian food products on November 9 on the grounds that such food damages religious sensitivities, according to the appeal.
It was claimed that no due process was followed during the action.
After a couple of civic organisations declared action against non-vegetarian street vendors earlier this month, the Gujarat government stated that there would be no discrimination along these lines, but that hygiene must be ensured.
The appeal also questioned why the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, had not been implemented in Gujarat.
The petition claims that selling non-vegetarian food on the street does not violate anyone’s rights.
“A vegetarian might find non-vegetarian cuisine objectionable, whereas a vegan might find milk, cheese, and honey offensive,” the report said.
It stated that as long as a person does not break any laws, he or she should be free to sell anything under Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to livelihood.
Those selling egg goods on Ahmedabad’s streets are among the 20 petitioners.
The petition asked the court to order the respondents (the Ahmedabad corporation and the Gujarat government) to allow them and others to sell food at times of their choosing.
The plea will most likely be heard soon.
The petitioners also claimed that they were among the worst-affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that when the situation began to improve, city officials took arbitrary action.