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Green signal to Central Vista redevelopment project with 2:1 Majority: Supreme Court

Green Signal was given to the redevelopment plan of New Delhi’s Central Vista by rejecting various petitions filed in against of the project by the Supreme Court. The above decision was held in case of Rajeev Suri & others vs. Delhi development Authority [Transferred case (Civil) no. 229 OF 2020] with the decision of Hon’ble Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari. Hon’ble Justice Sanjeev Khanna gave his dissent in the decision.

In the instant case, the Central government had proposed the redevelopment of the Central Vista area by constructing a new Parliament house, a new residential complex that will house the Prime Minister and the Vice-President, as well as several new office buildings and a Central Secretariate to accommodate Ministry offices. But petitions were being filed in the SC in against of this decision of Delhi Development Authority regarding changes in land use for the redevelopment.

Petitioner Rajeev Suri had contended that the said decision involved changes in land use and standards of population density and DDA didn’t have any right/power to do so. He stated that these powers only lie with the Central Govt. and not with DDA. Petitioner Meena Gupta had filed a petition saying that the redevelopment plan will harm the environment.

Later on, Central Government came in support of DDA and defended by saying that Redevelopment of the new parliament building had become an absolute necessity and it does not adhere to fire safety norms and also not earthquake proof.

On behalf of the Central government, SG Tushar Mehta stated that construction of New Central Secretariat would bring all important ministries under one roof. He quoted “We have to run around the city to go to different ministries, increasing traffic and pollution. The policy decision is that all Central ministries have to be at one place and that place has to be one which has historical significance”. It was being contended by the CG that all the measures for protecting the environmental norms have already been thought of.

Hence, by observing the arguments from the sides, SC gave Green Signal to the Central Vista Project by 2:1 Majority by rejecting all the petitions. However, Hon’ble Justice Sanjeev Khanna dissented from the decision and stated “However, on the question of grant of change of land use, I have a different opinion. I have held that the same was bad in law. There was no prior approval of Heritage Conservation Committee and thus matter is remitted back for public hearing. On the environmental clearance aspect, it was a non speaking order.”

Click here to read the Judgment.

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