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SC gives green signal to Central Vista re-development project

The Supreme court on Tuesday pronounced a majority verdict of 2:1 allowing the Central Vista re-development project in Delhi. (Mint)Premium
The Supreme court on Tuesday pronounced a majority verdict of 2:1 allowing the Central Vista re-development project in Delhi. (Mint)

  • The Supreme Court held that the exercise of power by Centre is just and proper to modify the change in land use of master plan 2021
  • The bench stated that the project proponents have to set up smog towers as an integral part of the central vista project

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.

The top court held that the exercise of power by Centre is just and proper to modify the change in land use of master plan 2021. It added that the recommendations made by the environmental committee are 'just and proper'.

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The bench however stated that the project proponents have to set up smog towers as an integral part of the central vista project and shall be using environment friendly construction material. The three judge bench also made an important point directing the environment ministry to pass similar directions for any future projects.

Justices Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari had the majority opinion and justice Sanjiv Khanna gave a separate judgement.

Justice Khanwilkar said, "We hold that the exercise of the central government under DDA Act is legal and valid and the impugned notification stands confirmed. Recommendation by environmental committee is just and legal and uphold the same."

Justice Khanna said, "I have agreed on the aspect of notice inviting bid, award and order of urban commission with the opinion of respected brother Justice Khanwilkar. However, on the aspect of change of land use: I have held that the same was initiated as being bad and law."

Giving two major reasons for his judgment, Justice Khanna held that firstly there was no disclosure for public participation and, secondly, there was no prior approval of the Heritage Conservation Committee.

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.

Rajeev Suri, one of the petitioners in the case has raised concerns over the various permission given for the change in land use and questioned the authority allowing such change.

The pleas have also challenged the grant of a no-objection certificate by the Central Vista Committee (CVC) and also the environmental clearances for the construction of a new Parliament building.

The DDA in December had changed the land use of a 15-acre plot from recreational to residential on Dalhousie Road near South Block. The renovation of the Parliament building is a segment in the Centre’s larger Central Vista project which includes a new Parliament House, a new central secretariat complex for ministries, and new residences for the prime minister and the vice president. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2024.

(To be updated after the judgement is uploaded)

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