New Delhi: Invoking the larger public interest, the Supreme Court has stepped in the government's plan to re-develop New Delhi's central vista area to build new Parliament building and new common central secretariat, demolishing around 10 buildings housing various ministries.
It transferred to itself the petitions challenging the redevelopment plan of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) from Delhi High Court that aims to free up 75 acres in the heart of the capital by demolishing Shastri Bhawan, Udyog Bhawan, Vigyan Bhawan, Krishi Bhawan, Lok Nayak Bhawan and Vice-President's House.
An Ahmedabad-based architectural firm has been awarded the contract to change the face of the Central Vista area and DDA issued notifications for change of use of land to facilitate it.
A 3-judge Bench heded by Justice A M Khanwilkar last Friday chose to better take the matter in its hand, holding that "it is just and proper that writ petition itself is heard by this court instead of examining the grievances in which the interim directions were passed and then vacated by the High Court."
A single judge of the High Court had directed the DDA to take its approval before notifying the proposed land use changes in the Central Vista but a division bench of the High Court stayed the order that had come on two petitions filed by Rajeev Suri and Lt Col Anuj Srivastava, challenging the public notice inviting objections against the change of land use of several plots.
Apprehending that the DDA may notify the proposed changes, Suri had moved the top court against the division bench's order. The Supreme Court said it took the decision in larger pdublic interest and it should be no reflection on the proceedings before the High Court.
Suri's stand is that the notice inviting public objections to the change of land use of several plots in the Central Vista was not in conformity with the Delhi Master Plan 2021 and other relevant laws and norms. He felt no reasions have been cited for the massive changes and new constructions that would cost heavily. Demolition of so many government buildings in good condition is unwarranted, he contended.