Supreme Court refuses to stay HC order which allowed Central Vista

Despite having faced a humiliating rebuff in the Delhi High Court, a PIL was again filed wanting the Supreme Court to stay the HC order and stop the work on the Central Vista project.

The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice AM Khanwilkar admonished the petitioner and said that they should not have pursued the PIL before the high court further.

The bench refused to stay the Delhi high court decision of May 31 which allowed the Central Vista project work in the national capital to proceed. The Delhi High Court had dismissed a Public Interest Litigation that sought stoppage of construction activity, terming it motivated. The court emphasized that the project was of national importance and imposed 1 lakh rupees cost on the petitioners Anya Malhotra and historian Sohail Hashmi.

The Supreme Court held that the high court was right in concluding that the petitioners were selective in choosing the Central Vista project and did not go after similar public projects where construction was ongoing during the pandemic.

The SC judges held that while genuine PILs have served well, questionable PILs have caused damage. PILs should be treated with the sanctity it deserves.

The Centre had informed the Delhi high court that the workers at the site of the construction have been provided all the facilities and protocols as mandated for Covid-19 are being followed.

The Central Vista project involves construction of a new triangular Parliament House, a residential complex that will house the Prime Minister and the Vice president, as well as several new office buildings and a central secretariat to accommodate offices of various ministries. Presently, many of the Ministries are located in far flung areas and some of them are working out of rented premises.

The three-kilometre-long Rajpath from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate will also be revamped as part of the Central Vista project. Traffic snarls will be another issue that will be taken care with the development of the central vista project.