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Delhi HC says Central Vista ‘vital, essential’ national project, construction work to continue

Delhi High Court said that the petition was "motivated" and "not a genuine PIL". It also imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioners.

May 31, 2021 / 01:57 PM IST
Central Vista Project: The central part of the 40 acre complex, has been built in a sunken plot as the design had to respect the heritage look of the India Gate's Central Vista, according to officials. (Image: Twitter/@PMOIndia)

Central Vista Project: The central part of the 40 acre complex, has been built in a sunken plot as the design had to respect the heritage look of the India Gate's Central Vista, according to officials. (Image: Twitter/@PMOIndia)

The Delhi High Court on May 31 said that Central Vista is an "essential national project" and the work will continue. The court was hearing a plea seeking suspension of the ongoing construction work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The court said the legality of the project was already upheld by the Supreme Court. It added that even the Delhi Disaster Management Authority allowed it to continue, workers were already present at the site and, therefore, "we see no reason to stop the work".

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh dismissed the plea, saying the petition was "motivated" and "not a genuine PIL". It also imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioners.

The court said under the contract awarded to the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, work had to be completed by November 2021 and, therefore, it should be allowed to continue.

Addressing a presser after the HC verdict, Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affair, Hardeep Singh Puri said that only two projects are under implementation - the new Parliament Building and the Central Vista Avenue. He further said that "decision on their construction taken before COVID-19".

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The court had on May 17 reserved its judgement on the joint plea by Anya Malhotra, a translator, and Sohail Hashmi, a historian and documentary filmmaker. The duo had contended that the project was not an essential activity and can be put on hold for time being.

During the May 17 hearing, the Centre had termed the plea as a "facade" or a "disguise", aimed at stalling the project. The petitioners on the other hand had contended they were only interested in the safety of workers at the site and citizens living in the area.

The project entails construction activities on Rajpath and the surrounding lawns from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhawan, the petition had said.

The project envisages building a new Parliament House, a new residential complex to house offices and the Prime Minister and the Vice-President. It will also have new office buildings and a Central Secretariat to accommodate various ministries' offices.



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first published: May 31, 2021 10:55 am
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