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Central Vista: Delhi High Court dismisses PIL seeking stay on construction with Rs 1 lakh cost

The bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh had reserved the order on May 17 after hearing both the sides.

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The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed the plea seeking a stop to the Central Vista construction in the national capital in view of the current Covid pandemic situation.

The bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh passed the order, and said that petition is not a genuine public interest litigation petition but a motivated one and proceeded to impose costs of Rs. 1 lakh on the petitioners.

The petition was filed in the Delhi High Court by Anya Malhotra and Sohail Hashmi through Advocates Gautam Khazanchi and Pradyuman Kaistha. It sought interim relief of halt on work of the Project, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic that has ravaged the country.

The Union of India has called it an abuse of the process of law and another attempt to stall the project and sought its dismissal with cost.

Representing petitioner, Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra had submitted that when the plea was moved, concerns were raised about the health and safety of the workers at the site and of the people in Delhi. Referring  to data on Covid positivity rate and deaths at the time when the court was moved, on May 4, he had said, “Is it too much for citizens to see misery and death to come to a constitutional court and seek protection for life?”

On the other hand, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had submitted, “There have been numerous challenges to the project. This court and Supreme Court considered it, and approved the project after it was vociferously argued for a number of days. 

“This is a facade of PIL to disguise something they always wanted to stop under one pretext or the other. Any bonafide litigant who had the health interest of workers in mind would have withdrawn this petition,” he had said.

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Senior Counsel Maninder Singh, on behalf of builder, Shapoorji Pallonji, had submitted, “This is not a bonafide petition. The petitioners are conscious of the Supreme Court judgement and are trying to override it though they try to appear goody goody and say they are not. Their petition is based on personal knowledge or newspaper reports. A document relied upon has not been filed.”

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