The Supreme Court (SC) in a majority verdict on Tuesday, January 5 gave the green signal to the redevelopment of New Delhi’s Central Vista area, rejecting a batch of petitions challenging the scheme for alleged violation of land use and environmental norms. The Supreme court on Tuesday pronounced a majority verdict of 2:1 allowing the Central Vista re-development project in Delhi. The apex court on 5 November had reserved its judgment in a batch of pleas challenging the Central Vista development/redevelopment project which relates to the building of a new parliament and other central government offices in Lutyens Delhi.
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Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the government to go ahead with the ‘central vista project’, which aims to redevelop the Parliament area and government offices around it. The permission, however, comes with several riders.
The court while granting a green signal to the redevelopment project upheld the notification of a change in land use as well as the recommendations made by the environment ministry. “The exercise of power under the DDA Act is just and valid. The recommendations of environmental clearance by the ministry of the environment are just, valid and proper and we uphold the same,” said Justice AM Khanwilkar.
Justices Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari had the majority opinion and justice Sanjiv Khanna gave a separate judgment. The project envisages refurbishing the nation’s power corridor, which includes a new Parliament building, a common Central Secretariat, and a renovated Rajpath stretching from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.
The revamp of the parliament complex announced in September 2019 envisions a new triangular building, with a seating capacity of 900 to 1,200 MPs. The complex is to be ready by August 2022, when India will be celebrating its 75th Independence Day.
The top court’s verdict came on several pleas on the issue, including the one filed by activist Rajeev Suri, against various permissions given to the project by authorities including the grant of environmental clearance and the nod to change of land use.
The Central Vista of New Delhi houses Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Parliament, North and South Block, India Gate, the National Archives, etc. The central government on 20 March had issued a notification wherein it approved the land use change as required for the Central Vista development/redevelopment project on the recommendations of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). The notification paved the way for the construction of new Parliament building and other projects in the prestigious Central Vista project.