HC ban on chemist shops in residential areas stayed

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 11

NEW DELHI: The chaiwala, kirana shop, paan shop, chemist and a host of other small activities are not going to vanish from your neighbourhood. They are set to get the Supreme Court nod and will continue to do business in residential areas. The “small fish”, it would appear, will live on while the apex court takes a critical approach to it




Acting on the February 16 order, the apex court-appointed monitoring committee, comprising Bhure Lal, K J Rao and S P Jhingon, gave a list of 19 trading activities that could be permitted to continue in residential localities, provided shops did not exceed 20 square metres

After conducting a survey of 185 roads having a width of 80 ft and more, the committee has come to the conclusion that a small shop may be defined as one measuring not more than 20 sq m dealing with following items of daily needs of the residents: Vegetables/fruits/flowers; bakery/confectionery items; kirana/general stores; dairy products; stationery/books/gifts; book binding/photostat/fax/PCOs; cyber cafe/cellphone shops, LPG booking offices and showrooms without cylinder storing facility; atta chakkis; meat, poultry and fish shops, barber/hairdressing saloons/beauty parlours, drycleaning/laundry/ironing; sweet shops/tea stalls without seating facility; chemist shops selling medicines; optical shops; tailoring shops; electrical/electronic repair shops and photo studios.
Amicus curiae Ranjit Kumar, who is assisting the Supreme Court on the sealing matter, informed the Bench that the
“committee is of the view that these shops may be exempted from purview of sealing operations in residential areas as these small shops would not have any impact on the infrastructure and, therefore, recommends to the SC to permit these activities in residential areas in shops measuring not more than 20 square metres”.
The committee also recommended that shops in each zone should be identified and registered by MCD, which should allot a serial number to them.
In a major relief to over 5,000 chemist shop owners operating within residential areas of the Capital, the Supreme Court today stayed a Delhi High Court’s ban order on issuance of licences to them on the ground that it violated building bye-laws and citizens’ right to decent living.

A Bench comprising Justice D. M. Dharmadhikari and Justice B. N. Srikrishna stayed the operation of the January 25 order of the High Court on appeals by the All Delhi Chemists Association and the Delhi Medical Association.

The court also issued notices to the Delhi Government and one Joginder Kumar Singla, who had filed the petition before the High Court. The petitioners contended that closure of over 5,000 chemists shops and 500 healthcare centres operating within the residential areas would not be in the interest of anyone and could put the health of the residents at stake.

The High Court had directed that “henceforth, the drug authorities, before issuing or renewing a licence to run a chemists shop, shall also ensure that the area where the shop is intended (to be run) is not residential and is meant for commercial use.”

The Bench had also directed Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to initiate appropriate action under provisions of the Delhi Development Act against certain chemist shops pointed out by the petitioners, which were being run in residential areas.

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