The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the groundwork for the Central Vista project, the government’s Rs 20,000-crore venture to build a new Parliament and other central offices in Delhi, Live Law reported.
A bench, comprised of justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna, heard a petition claiming that the government had been giving approvals for various construction activities related to the project, despite a pending case in the top court. The petitioner’s lawyer added that environmental clearances were recommended for the venture and the top court should stop work on the project.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on the other hand, told the court that there had been no “overreaching of process” in granting clearances related to the project. He added that the Centre cannot guarantee that there will be no work on the ground.
“Can we restrain authorities from acting as per law?” Khanwilkar said during the hearing. The top court, then, observed that any change made by the authorities at the ground level will be at their own risk. The bench, however, directed the Centre to file a detailed response to the petition seeking a stay on the project by July 3. The next hearing was listed for July 7.
In April, the Supreme Court had refused to pause the government’s project, citing that the coronavirus crisis was going to ensure that no work could be done for it. It had then said there was no urgency to take action.
The three-km-long Central Vista project stretches from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the India Gate. The government’s project is aimed at making further changes to Parliament and the ministries over the course of four years. However, there will be no external changes to the Parliament facade.
Gujarat-based company HCP Design, Planning and Management Private Limited had won the contract for the project in October.