“Central Vista essential project of national importance:” Delhi High Court dismisses plea to halt construction with Rs. 1 lakh costs

“Central Vista essential project of national importance:” Delhi High Court dismisses plea to halt construction with Rs. 1 lakh costs

Hummingbird News Desk

NEW DELHI, 1 JUNE: The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to direct the Central government to stop the ongoing construction of the Central Vista Project in the national capital in view of the COVID-19 pandemic(Anya Malhotra v. Union of India).

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A Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh ruled that the work currently ongoing is part and parcel of project and of vital importance and can’t be seen in isolation.

“..the whole Central Vista Project is an essential project of National importance, where the sovereign functions of Parliament are also to be conducted. Public is vitally interested in this project.,” the Court said.

The challenge to the on-going construction of one particular project is “a pointer to the ill-intent and lack of bona fides of the petitioners in filing the present petition”, the Bench said.

The Centre had sought that the petition be dismissed with “exemplary costs” on the ground “that it is an abuse of the process of law”. The petitioners were translator Anya Malhotra and historian and documentary filmmaker Sohail Hashmi.

Observing that the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) had on 19 April permitted construction activity where labourers stayed on site during the Covid restrictions, the court said a conjoint reading of the affidavits filed by the Centre and Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Private Limited (SPCPL) revealed that arrangements were made to accommodate 280 workers at the site and that “there is no further movement” of workers from Sarai Kale Khan or any other place to the site.

“Since the workers 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,” said the Bench, while also taking note of SPCPL’s submission that several facilities have been provided by it to workers onsite like “residence/accommodation”, medical facilities, a Covid-19 care centre and facilities for isolation and conducting RT-PCR tests.

The Court stated that once the workers were staying at the site and all facilities had been provided and the Covid-19 protocols were being adhered to, there was no reason for it to exercise powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to stop the project.

The Court further observed that petition is not a genuine public interest litigation petition but a “motivated” one and proceeded to impose costs of Rs. 1 lakh on the petitioners.

Tags: #CentralVista #CentralVistaProject #India #Modi #DelhiHighCourt

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