New Parliament building
New Parliament building

The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the redevelopment plan for Central Vista, including the new Parliament building.

In a 2:1 majority verdict, a three-judge bench of justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna cleared the ambitious project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi government with riders.

The Central Vista revamp, announced in September, 2019 envisages a new triangular Parliament building, with seating capacity for 900 to 1,200 MPs.

Earlier on December 7, the apex court had expressed strong dissatisfaction with the Centre for reportedly initiating construction process with announcement of ground breaking ceremony for the new parliament building in the Central Vista project, even as the issues connected with the redevelopment plan was under its consideration.

On December 10, Prime Minister Modi had laid the foundation stone for the new Parliament building. The construction is expected to cost around Rs 971 crore and is to be constructed by August, 2022 when the country celebrates its 75th Independence Day.

The petitioners had challenged the project with allegations of illegal change in land use and urged the court to quash the project. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had on December 21, 2019 issued a notification regarding changes in land use for the redevelopment.

Here are the key points of the Supreme Court verdict on Central Vista project:

  • The bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar held that the grant of the environmental clearance and the notification for change in land use for the project was valid.

  • 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.

  • A court said the heritage conservation committee's approval is needed before consruction begins and directed that the project proponents to get that approval.

  • "We have discussed 16 broad heads, Justice Khanwilkar said and added that all parameters and aspects have been considered while hearing the petitions.

  • The Supreme Court also said that "we also call upon the Ministry of Environment to install smog towers in future projects, particularly in those cities where pollution is an issue."

  • The heritage conservation Committee approval needed when construction work is to begin, the Apex Court said in its judgement and directed the project proponents to get approval from the heritage committee.

  • Justice Sanjeev Khanna dissented and wrote a separate judgment, but agreed on the issue of award of project.

  • He, however, disagreed with the judgment on change of land use and on grant of environmental clearance for the project.

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Free Press Journal