Delhi HC Agrees to Hear Plea on Pausing Central Vista Construction
The plea highlighted that there existed no rationale for classifying the project as an “essential service”.
The Delhi High Court on Monday, 10 May, agreed to hear tomorrow a petition that seeks to pause construction work related to the BJP government’s Central Vista redevelopment project.
Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra informed the division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh of a Supreme Court order, which gave the petitioner liberty to mention the matter in the high court for an early hearing on account of the COVID-19 health emergency.
Luthra said, "Your lordship was pleased to keep it on 17th May. An SLP was filed..my request is that there is an emergency, a health emergency," Bar and Bench reported.
The court responded that the it will hear the matter tomorrow (11 May).
Earlier, The Delhi High Court had scheduled to hear the matter on 17 May, without passing any order. Following this, the petitioners approached the apex court arguing that the urgency and public health emergency sought to be addressed by the plea would be quashed by adjourning the matter to 17 May.
The Supreme Court has asked the high court to consider the plea for early hearing.
The Central Vista Redevelopment project, a pet project of the Narendra Modi government, estimated to cost around 20,000 crore, aims to reimagine the 3.2 km stretch around the heart of Central Vista in Lutyens’ Delhi, which is the administrative centre of the central government.
On 5 January, a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court had granted approval to the project, rejecting petitions that challenged the project over alleged violation of land use and environmental standards.
Presently, the petitioners have sought a halt on construction due to the dismal COVID-19 situation in the national capital, which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and a crippled healthcare infrastructure in the country.
Amid mounting tragedy, the construction work is also a potential COVID-19 super spreader, the plea noted.
The petitioners have also submitted that they do not intend to overreach the Supreme Court judgment of January, Bar and Bench reported, adding that they were only seeking a temporary halt on the work owing to the public health crisis in the national capital area.
The plea highlighted that there existed no rationale for classifying the Central Vista Project as an “essential service” during this time, just because there is an executive-mandated contractual deadline.
The petition states, "In the current dismal scenario, this project has no feature of “essentiality” for and/or of “service” to the public at large. In the absence of provisions for on-site accommodation in this project, the impugned acts are totally contrary to and in gross violation of the orders issued in public interest by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority," Bar and Bench reported.
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