Are We Antisocial, Smoking Food Delivery Agents After Police Ban Them From Waiting On Coimbatore Street – The New Indian Express

By Express press service

COIMBATORE: Police have banned delivery staff from app-based food aggregators from waiting in a stretch of RS Puram, on the grounds that residents have lodged complaints fearing for their safety.

Dozens of delivery managers working for app-based companies hang out at a restaurant on VOC Street on West Sambantham Road in RS Puram. As the road has several trees, they park their vehicles and wait for their orders to prepare. Recently, the police told them not to wait there and warned them if they violated the instructions.

The food delivery people fear that the police will present them as anti-social elements. “We understand that so many of us gathering in one place can cause inconvenience to area residents. But for this, the police apply such control, portraying us as anti-social elements. If someone is found guilty, he must be punished. Otherwise, there is no provision prohibiting an ordinary man from standing in a public place,” said M Mohanasundaram, a food delivery man.

Mohanasundaram, who works in a private company, said the job helps him support his family. “We shouldn’t be treated as antisocials During the pandemic, we delivered food to hundreds of people in need. If the police suspect our activities, they can step up their surveillance and file charges against offenders. Banning our presence is not acceptable and should be revoked,” he added.

They add that due to the ban, they are avoiding receiving orders from the area. “If this ban is extended to other areas, we will have to leave work. We are waiting in an area where we receive more orders. We don’t know why we are not allowed to stand in public places. If any of us has committed a crime, the police have the power to ban us but we are not involved in such activities, how can they ban us,” asked K Suresh, a food delivery boy.

Restaurant staff said that during the lockdown, more orders had been received from food distributors and delivery people used to waiting at the roadside. “A few locals didn’t like it and complained to the police, and they banned the delivery staff. We do not know if they were involved in illegal activities.

Unless Section 144 of the CrPC is imposed, the police cannot ban public gatherings. Only if there is an official complaint can the police register a case and take action against an individual. They can’t act like that in general without complaining, said A Pandiarajan, a lawyer.

A senior lawyer, C Gnanabharathi, said it was a constitutionally incorrect practice. Everyone should remember their work during the pandemic, before presenting it as an antisocial element. If there is a complaint, it must be dealt with individually, he added.

Police Inspector S Anandajothi said no criminal activity has been reported against the delivery staff so far. “We imposed the ban following complaints from residents. It also helps us to prevent illegal activities in residential areas. If they want to take food orders, they have to set up a separate office and wait there, not in a public place,” she said.

Police Commissioner Pradip Kumar said he would look into the matter.