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The Supreme court on Thursday 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 apex court bench headed by Justices AM Khanwilkar asked all the parties involved in the case to file their written pleadings before 16 November.

The Central Vista of New Delhi houses Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament House, North and South Block, India Gate, 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 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.

The bench also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna had heard the arguments at length for the past more than a week.

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 house building.

Solicitor Genetal Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, arguing in favour of the redevelopment has apprised the bench that the present Parliament building was opened in 1927. He has explained that owing to it being so old, there are allot of safety problems arising including space crunch, not earthquake-proof and the absence of fire safety norms. He also highlighted the other security threats to the present building while referring to the 2001 Parliamentary attack.

Mehta has stressed the need for all central ministries to be at one place in order to improve the efficiency of the government. He highlighted the problem of different ministries offices scattered across the capital. He said, “it is a policy decision that all central ministries should be at one place and that place has to be one which has historical significance." Rajeev Suri, one of the petitioners in the case has opposed the redevelopment projecting arguing against the change of land use allowed for this project.

The Authority 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.



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