Central Vista Project Gets Supreme Court Nod

The Supreme Court on 5th January gave approval to the Central Vista Project that seeks to refurbish government buildings in central Delhi and construct a new Parliament complex.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday 5th January gave the green signal to the Central Vista Project. Central Vista Project seeks to refurbish (renovate) government buildings in central Delhi and construct a new Parliament complex. It is one of the most ambitious projects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's regime. Few petitions were filed claiming that the project violated land use regulations and environmental norms. However the government pushed the project saying redevelopment was the need of the hour.  A petitioner, Rajeev Suri, challenged the notification issued by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on 21st December which pertained to land use changes. Another petitioner,  Meena Gupta, a former Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, argued the project will be detrimental to the environment. In November, the bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and Sanjiv Khanna reserved the verdict.

However, last month, SC allowed the ground-breaking ceremony of the new Parliament building, while adding that construction can't begin until a verdict is delivered. The ceremony was attended by PM Modi. The Centre defended the project fiercely in court. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta drew attention to the security issues and structural weaknesses of the existing building. The Centre also said the new project will save nearly Rs. 1,000 crore that is paid as rent for a number of offices. The Centre plans to conserve the existing Parliament building as an archaeological asset. While giving the approval to the project, the bench said that under the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) Act exercise of power was valid. The apex court added that the heritage conservation committee’s approval will be needed when construction work for Central Vista will begin. They ordered that smog towers be set up as an integral part of the central vista project. The court also agreed with clearances given by the Ministry of Environment. However, Justice Khanna disagreed with his colleagues for land use changes.