T-772/03. Social State of Law. Public space


A person interposed “acción de tutela” in order to request the Constitutional Judge the protection of his rights to dignity, equality, free development of personality, freedom of mobility, freedom to choose a career or job, personal freedom and due process. In the suit, the complainant didn’t specify who the respondent is, but the Court deduced from the narration of the facts that the action is lodged against the “Grupo de Espacio Público de la Policía Metropolitana de Bogotá”.


Indicates the complainant that the only income he has is derived of his job as a street vendor. Illustrates that one day he was preparing to start selling food on the streets as usual when a truck of the “Unidad de Espacio Público de la Policía Metropolitana” arrived, the policemen that emerged from the vehicle started to insult the present sellers and confiscated their goods, the took detained him for 24 hours and mistreated him. He requested the devolution of the merchandise that was confiscated but hasn’t received a satisfactory answer.

The Constitutional Court analyzed the problematic parting from the duty of the State to preserve the public space from its occupation by street vendors, and the interpretation of that duty in a context of high unemployment, massive displacement and high rates of poverty and indigence; the respect for the due process in the police actions of restitution of public space; and finally contrasted the procedure of restitution of public space that took place in the concrete case and that one that should have been applied. The Tribunal concluded that the transitory detention of the complainant was performed in clear conditions of illegality, therefore, it ordered the investigation of the possible violation of the penal law. Regarding the situation of the plaintiff, the Court ordered the “Fondo de Ventas Populares” to offer an economic alternative to the actor in the term of one month.