OpinionLegal View

Supreme Court’s green signal to Central Vista Project

India is the world’s biggest democracy with a population of over 130 crore Indians from different religion, caste, and gender. To have a democratic system in place, there is a Parliamentary system. Parliamentary system of India was adopted from England and is having two houses. The lower house also known as Lok Sabha is the one where the members are elected directly by the people of the country whereas the upper house also known as Rajya Sabha is having members indirectly elected for a proper representation of the states at Central level. Currently there is a provision of 545 members in Lok Sabha and 250 members in Rajya Sabha. Indian Parliamentary system also have a provision of joint sitting where members of both the houses sit together for important functions including address by the president or a deadlock for a bill etc.

The parliament building was constructed by Britishers during their colonial regime and India adopted it as their parliament after independence. Though the construction was very good and amazing, the change in generation has required more space. During joint sitting of the houses, members have to often use plastic chairs due to less number of seats. With the change in technology, most of the work require digitalisation however the current structure do not support the same.

To curb the issue, Government under Manmohan Singh rule have decided to have a Central Vista Redevelopment Project. The project is supposed to redevelop the stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate and have new parliament building, abode for Prime Minister and Vice President, common central secretariat, and building for Prime Minister Office. It will also have multiple new features including a grand Constitution Hall showcasing India’s democratic heritage, lounge for parliamentarians, library, dining areas and parking space. New Parliament structure will not have a Central Hall which is currently an important part. The model will include four-storey structure in an area of over 64,000 Sq. m and a total sitting facility of 1224 parliamentarians. Bid for the Central Vista Redevelopment Project have gone to Tata Projects Limited and an estimated Rs 20,000 crore will be spent in demolishing the existing structure and reconstruction.

There are people and organisations having Leftist ideology who does not want any good steps to be taken by the Indian state and Central Vista Redevelopment Project is no exception and thus multiple cases has been filed in Supreme Court seeking a stay on various grounds including environmental issues, Covid-19 situation, damage to heritage, pollution etc. Supreme Court being guardian of the constitution of India heard everyone patiently and given a majority verdict giving clearance to the government to go ahead with their project showing no intention to interfere in the administrative step which is the sole responsibility of the legislature. However, Supreme Court put several riders and conditions including the necessity to seek prior approval of Heritage Conservative Committee, environment clearance, installation of smog guns and smog towers at site and eco-friendly construction materials among others.

Hopefully, the new Parliament will be able to showcase and reflect the true essence of Indian democracy and keep protecting the rights of Indians.

Author: Adv. Shashank Shekhar Jha
Legal Editor, GoaChronicle.com

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