Supreme Court to pronounce judgment on Central Vista project on Tuesday
The Supreme Court on Tuesday will pronounce its decision on the validity of the Central Vista project on a slew of petitions that questioned the lack of transparency and objectivity in awarding clearances to the project by the Government and the Central Vista Committee.
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar and comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna, will pronounce its decision on various aspects of the project relating to grant of environmental clearance, violation of statutory and municipal laws, conservation of heritage, change of land use under the Delhi Development Act, and manner of inviting public hearing and objections involved with the Central Vista Redevelopment plan.
Exactly a month ago, on November 5, the Supreme Court had reserved orders on the fate of the Central Vista project including the construction of a new Parliament building and Central Secretariat after finishing arguments in 10 separate petitions that were heard for over five months.
Senior advocates Shyam Divan, Sanjay Hegde and Shikhil Suri had extensively argued for the petitioners in the 10 writ petitions. The Centre was defended by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta while the project consultant HCP Design, Planning and Management was represented by senior advocate Harish Salve.
On December 7, the apex court had allowed the government to proceed with the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Central Vista project on December 10. The Court, however, made it clear that there will be a stop on all construction activity of any nature on the concerned site(s). This included demolition of any structure or trans-location of trees. A statement made to this effect by the Solicitor General was recorded by the Court in its order.
It had been the stand of the Centre throughout that it followed all the procedure and obtained clearances from the relevant authorities for the project. The petitioner, however, submitted that before the award of tender for the Central Vista project to HCP Designs on September 2, 2019, no document was available in public domain. For HCP, Salve appeared and said that decision to award tender was a policy decision of the government and that the courts should not venture into in the name of participative democracy.