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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Central Vista Project – Essential for the Nation

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Referring to the Central Vista project as a project of national importance, the Delhi high court on Monday dismissed a plea seeking a halt on the construction of the building.

The Bench of Chief justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh claimed the plea to be “motivated” and imposed a fine of Rs 1,00,000 on the petitioners Anya Malhotra, a translator, and Sohail Hashmi, a historian and documentary filmmaker.

The said petition was filed on May 4 by the two-seeking halt on the construction work of Central Vista and Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment project amid an upsurge of the coronavirus cases in the national capital.

In an ongoing argument on Monday in the Delhi high court, the bench asserted “the construction of the Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment project cannot be seen in isolation. In fact, the whole Central Vista project is an essential project of national importance, where the sovereign functions of parliament are also to be conducted. The public is vitally interested in this project.”

Calling the plea motivated, the bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh claimed to challenge one certain project going on is “a pointer to the ill-intent and lack of bonafides of the petitioners in filing the present PIL.” they even asserted it to be a motivated, and time-wasting plea.

The petitioners in arguments claimed they were concerned about the city and the labourers as the coronavirus cases were spiking at a rapid pace and that the plea was only filed for the time until the situation gets normal. They even questioned the bench on saying the project to be essential and of national importance as “why or how the project constitutes an ‘essential service’ merely because some Executive-mandated contractual deadline has to be met?”

“One more facade attempt to satisfy some kind of vanity in the minds of certain individuals, such attempts are going on since the inception of the project,” rebutted the Centre during the hearing.

The Centre in its arguments added that the petition is dismissed with “exemplary costs” on the ground, and claimed it to be “an abuse of the due process of law”.

The court observed the reports of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) which permitted the construction activity. Considering the affidavit filed by the Centre and Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Private Limited (SPCPL), the court claimed all the arrangements of the labourers’ stay on-site, accommodation for 280 workers, medical facilities, facilities for isolation, COVID-19 care, RT-PCR tests conduction, etc. were properly looked at and no movement of the workers were done.

Taking to the note, the bench said “Since the workers are who are working at the project are staying on the site, no question of issuing directions to suspend the work of Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project, whatsoever arises.”

The bench further added as the project needs to be completed in a time-bound manner by November 2021, there will be no extension of the plea in this case. The court asserted “the construction of this essential project is of national importance and it cannot be stopped further as the conditions imposed by the DDMA are not flouted.”

Holding equal importance of both the Central Vista Project and Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project, the bench said “if this type of project is stopped by the court, the main project (Central Vista project) cannot be completed within the stipulated time.”

On the point of vehicle movement on the site, the court observed no issues on it. They said, “The permission is certainly regulated and only those vehicles which have been permitted, would be allowed to move, in accordance with the movement pass dated 19th April 2021 and after due scrutiny of their registration numbers.”

As the petitioners in their plea asked to suspend the ongoing work of the project of national importance, the court thrashed the petitioners in a manner observing many other construction agencies working on various projects in the National Capital Region Territory.

“It is obvious that petitioners have selectively chosen only one project which is of national importance, at a vital place where Republic Day celebrations are held in Delhi and is a part and parcel of the larger project, namely Central Vista Project, legality whereof has already been upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.” the bench of Justice noted.

Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra aside from the petitioners argued the plea was in no manner to overreach the Supreme Court verdict that had permitted the Central Vista Project and that it was limited to the construction during the upsurge of the pandemic.

The mood of the nation celebrating its 75th Auspicious Independence Day with an all-new parliament building with urban facilities will be sky kissing. Hence, it becomes vital for the society at large to enthusiastically welcome such development projects and not to be a hurdle unmoved!

[author title=”Shreya Gohel” image=”http://localhost/gc2/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/20210127_014031.jpg”]Journalist, Goa Chronicle

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