Supreme Court gives go-ahead for govt's new parliament complex project
08 January 2021
The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for the redevelopment of the central government buildings, overriding objections raised by several petitioners against the centre's plan for the redevelopment of the Central Vista area.
A three-judge bench of the apex court upheld the Central Vista project, including the new Parliament building, with certain conditions by 2 to 1 majority.
The court observed that the government has done its paperwork, but made the approval conditional on obtaining clearance from the Heritage Conservation Committee.
Justice Sanjiv Khanna who dissented from the majority view of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwar also pointed to lack of prior approval from the Heritage Conservation Committee. "I agree on the issue of award of the project, however, disagree with the judgment on change on land use," he said, adding that prior approval of Heritage Committee should have been there.
Reading out the verdict, Justice Khanwilkar, however, said there was no infirmity to the fact that prior approval of Heritage conservation committee was not taken.
"We hold that the exercise of the central government under the DDA Act is legal and valid and the impugned notification stands confirmed. Recommendation by Environmental Committee is just and legal and uphold the same," he pronounced.
Hearing a bunch of petitions filed by opposition leaders, the Supreme Court had said that no construction or demolition work or felling of trees shall take place at the Central Vista project site until it decides on the pleas which have opposed the Central Vista project.
The petitioners also rued the fact that the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Central Vista project coincided with the farmers’ protest over the three farms laws passed by the Centre.
The petitioners had alleged that illegal change in land use and violation of statutory and municipal laws, heritage conservation rules etc as objections to the Central Vista project.
The government has defended the Rs20,000-crore project, saying it saves a lot of money - up to Rs1,000 crore worth annual rent alone – and that the nearly 100-year-old Parliament building was showing signs of distress and faced many safety issues, including serious fire hazard, which necessitated the construction of a modern building.
Reacting to the judgement, union mmnister Hardeep Singh Puri said the government has always been sensitive to environmental concerns, and that it will adhere to highest standards during construction. "Delhi is on course to becoming a world-class capital city. By the time nation completes 75 years of Independence in 2022, new Parliament building will be ready, reflecting aspirations of new India," he said.