Wholesellers can be shifted out of city limits: SC

Maintaining that public interest should prevail over private interests, the apex court said wholesale market operators could not claim violation of the fundamental right to do business if they are shifted outside the city limits for causing civic problems.

A bench of Justices Markandey Katju and C K Prasad said authorities in the country could relocate wholesale markets, where the public seldom visited, relying upon the practice prevalent world over.

“Citizens ordinarily do not go to wholesale markets but they go to retail markets. Hence, if the wholesale market is not situated within the city limits, it will not cause any inconvenience to the public in general,” the court observed.

“On the other hand, if a wholesale market is situated within the city limits, there will be hazards of traffic congestion everyday because of hundreds of vehicles entering the city carrying goods for wholesale markets resulting also in air and noise pollution etc, apart from posing health and hygiene problems,” the bench said.

The court noted that even though it was the fundamental right of a citizen to carry on business of choice, the state can impose reasonable restriction over it in view of larger public good.

“It is true that the right to do business is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution but this right is subject to reasonable restrictions under Article 19(6),” the apex court said.

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