Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Central Vista: Supreme Court allows foundation stone ceremony, pulls up Centre for going ahead without court ruling

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The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Central Government to lay the foundation stone of the Central Vista project without starting any other construction work. The Court pulled up the Centre for reportedly going ahead with constructions in Central Vista even as the issues relating to the redevelopment plan are yet to be ruled upon by the Court.

During the hearing today, the Court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to take instructions from the Centre to ensure no construction at the project site. SG Mehta, on instructions, undertook on behalf of the Centre that there won’t be any construction, demolition or shifting of trees in the Central Vista till Supreme Court delivers its judgment.

The Supreme Court had previously issued notice to the government and sought answers to the questions and allegations raised in the petitions filed accusing the government of illegally changing the land-use rules for the proposed Central Vista project at a place next to Rajpath. Under this project, 10 buildings are to be built for all the ministries, secretariat, and many other offices including Parliament House.

SG Tushar Mehta had previously submitted before the Court that the plan and construction of Central Vista is not a bargain of losses or a waste of the public exchequer, but through this, due to the proper utilisation of funds, it will save Rs 1,500 crore every year. It will be an eco-friendly building, natural energy will be used as well as offices running in rented buildings of various ministries will also come in their official building on Central Vista. The current building of Parliament is over a hundred years old. It is evident that according to the current era, safety measures have been taken only with jugaad technology. The strength of the building has also been affected by the timestamps. The people who have challenged this project here talk about the lack of space in the Parliament, the lack of security arrangements, and the lapse in the system. In such a situation, there is no need to assess and study this project from any independent institute or agency.

Also Read: Central Vista Project: Romancing the Stone

The Apex Court in June 2020 had heard a plea filed by environmentalist Rajeev Suri seeking a stay on the Central Vista Project pertaining to construction of a new parliament building and other government buildings in Lutyens Delhi. A three-judge Bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjeev Khanna had clarified that all the proceedings regarding the Central Vista Development Project will be considered together.

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