SC refuses to stay Rs. 20,000 crore Central Vista project
The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stay the Central Vista project which aims to build a new Parliament building among other central government offices. A petition filed in the court argued against the continuation of the project, however, the court deemed the matter "not urgent." The Rs. 20,000 crore project has also drawn flak from critics considering the financial burden of COVID-19.
2-judge SC bench dismissed petition
A two-judge SC bench dismissed the petition that had sought to quash the Central government's March 20 notification notifying a change in land use. The bench comprised Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde and Justice Aniruddha Bose. According to Bar and Bench, CJI Bobde said, "During COVID-19, nobody is going to do anything. There is no urgency."
Petitioner argued Centre's plan deprives Delhiites of their rights
The petition—filed by Rajeev Suri—argued against the "brash move" by the Centre to notify land-use change on March 20. The notification pertained to 86 acres of land in Central Delhi which is home to the Parliament building, Rashtrapati Bhavan, etc. The petitioner argued that the notification deprives Delhi residents of their rights as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Use of Rs. 20,000 crore not advisable, argued petitioner
The petitioner urged the court to stay the project on the grounds that "irreversible" activities such as demolishing buildings, tree-cutting, etc. may be carried out. According to CNBC TV18, the petitioner also argued that the use of Rs. 20,000 crore for the project was not advisable at a time when the government was indulging in austerity measures such as halting government employees' dearness allowance.
'Why is there a problem?' asked Centre
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said, "Parliament is being constructed. Why is there a problem?" CJI Bobde observed that a similar petition was pending in the Delhi High Court, also filed by Suri, and that the case before the HC will continue.
What is the Central Vista project?
The Central Vista project aims to build a new triangular Parliament building, 10 new buildings for government offices, and new residences for the Prime Minister and Vice-President. HCP Design, Planning, and Management Private Limited was awarded the contract. The Central Vista project is slated to be completed by November 2021, the Parliament building by March 2022, and the common Central Secretariat by March 2024.