The Central Vista is a quintessential 3 km stretch in the heart of New Delhi that runs from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate. Surrounded by large green spaces and containing significant structures such as Parliament, the Secretariat buildings and the National Archives, it is recognized around the world as a striking example of innovative urban planning and architecture.
The plan of redeveloping the project involves the cost of around 20,000 crores which is equivalent to 1% of the Centre’s purported Covid-19 relief package (and 0.1% of India’s GDP). Several plea(s) were filed before the Apex court that such a plan of redevelopment is wasting the taxpayer’s expense in building a new Parliament, during the pandemic situation.
A bench comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, & Sanjiv Khanna which was hearing the petitions raising aspects related to Environment Clearance granted to the Central Vista Project.
The bench has classified the plea(s) into the following categories: “Land use, Municipal laws, Environmental Clearances & General Declarations and other issues”. SC remarked that it shall take up the issue of “land use” first, in the plea seeking the quashing of the approval of the government’s plan to construct a new Parliament by the Central Vista Committee.
The plea seeks to challenge the notification which was issued by the Delhi development Authority (DDA) for the redevelopment that is violative of Article 21 of Constitution of India and violates the extended version of Article 21 the Right to life, guaranteed by the Constitution of India as it would deprive the residents of Delhi a vast chunk of highly treasured open and green space in the Central Vista area available for public, semi-public and social activities.
The plea further invokes Article 49 of the Constitution to assert that the state is obliged to protect places and objects of national importance.
Earlier in March, the SC had transferred to itself the petitions pending in Delhi High Court challenging the Central Vista Project. The court will begin hearing the batch of pleas which is adjourned on August 25 at 10:30 AM, two of which have been filed by Rajeev Suri & Lt. Col. (Retd.) Anuj Srivastava.