New Delhi: The Supreme Court upheld the Central Government's plan for construction of the Central Vista project and the government's proposal to construct a new Parliament in Lutyen's Delhi with a 2:1 majority on Tuesday.
A three-judge bench consisting of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna pronounced the judgement, with Justices Khanwilkar and Maheshwari forming the majority, and with Justice Khanna pronouncing a separate judgement.
The bench held that there were "no infirmities in clearances given, change in land use and the environmental clearances". However, it imposed some riders like clearance from heritage conservation committee.
The bench said that the heritage conservation committee's approval is needed before construction begins and directed the project proponents to get that approval.
The Bench also directed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to install smog towers in future projects, particularly in those cities where pollution is an issue. During the construction, smog guns must be used.
In a separate judgement Justice Sanjiv Khanna while agreeing with the issue of award of the project, noted that the matter had to be remitted back to public hearing as there was no prior approval of the Heritage Conservation Committee,
Further, on the Environmental Clearance aspect, he noted that it was a non-speaking order.
Justice Khanna proceeded to state that it was bad in law as there had been no disclosure for public participation, and there was no prior approval of the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) . Accordingly, Justice Khanna remitted the matter to the HCC.
On December 7, the Supreme Court had allowed the Central Government to conduct the Foundation Ceremony of the Central Vista project without altering the status of the site in any manner. The top court had slammed the Union for going ahead with the construction works of the project even when the judgment on the pleas was awaited.
The project envisages a new triangular Parliament building, with a seating capacity of up to 1,200 MPs. The project is estimated to be constructed by August 2022, when the country will celebrate its 75th Independence Day.
On December 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the new Parliament building. The construction is expected to cost around Rs 971 crore and the common Central Secretariat is likely to be built by 2024.
The petitioners had challenged a notification issued by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on December 21, 2019 regarding changes in land use for the redevelopment.
(With inputs from agencies)