Thursday, December 1, 2022

Master Plan for Delhi 2021: HC stays single judge order for prior approval before making changes

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The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed the order of single judge directing the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to take prior approval of the court while making any changes to the Master Plan for Delhi 2021.

The bench of CJ DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar also issued notices to the two petitioners Rajeev Suri and Lt Col (retd) Anuj Srivastava on whose plea the February order was passed.

SG Tushar Mehta and ASG Maninder Kaur Acharya informed the court that the proposed redevelopment of the Central Vista not only encompasses the New Parliament Building and Common Central Secretariat but also envisages a World-class public space and venue of events. They further said that the project would not cause any increase in population density as the proposed redevelopment does not include development of any residential projects in the area. While the “floating population” of offices would increase due to the new offices, the same would be offset by the moving out of other existing offices from the area.

Mehta also refuted the claim of loss of green cover by the compensatory green spaces proposed to be created as part of the proposed plan.

The court was also informed that DDA has followed proper statutory procedure for making the proposed changes in the land use, and in conformity with the Delhi Development Act, 1957, the Rules framed thereunder and Master Plan for Delhi 2021(MPD-21).

The Centre and the DDA had challenged the February 11 order passed by Justice Rajiv Shakdher on the petitions against the Central Vista redevelopment project proposed by the DDA. There have been several petitions against the proposed Central Vista — the 3-km stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate in Lutyens’ Delhi –which is arguably going to result in a loss of land for the general public’s use including increase in population density, in violation of the original MPD-21.

The Union of India and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) were impleaded as parties by the High Court and issued notices. They have, since, challenged the locus standii of the petitioners in the change and administration of the MPD-21.

The DDA had on December 21, 2019 issued a notification seeking objections and suggestions for the proposed land-use change for eight plots, including for the construction of a new Parliament building and residences, meant for the Vice-President and the Prime Minister.

The matter will be heard in court next on May 6.

— India Legal Bureau

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