The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said that it will hear tomorrow a petition seeking to stop construction activity in the Central Vista Project in compliance with orders issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority during the subsistence of the peak phase of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that the Centre has filed a reply to the petition.
A Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh noted that reply was not on record and directed to bring the Center’s affidavit on record.
Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra, who was representing the petitioner, told the court that the issue concerns a specific area where construction is going on unabated.
On Monday, the matter was mentioned by senior advocate Siddharth Luthra for preponement of the date of hearing as it was earlier listed for May 17 for a detailed hearing.
The bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh on Monday asked him to file an application and said that they would hear the matter tomorrow. Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra also informed the bench about the Supreme Court’s direction in this regard.
On May 7, the Supreme Court urged Delhi High Court to consider the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by petitioner Anya Malhotra seeking a stay in construction work of the Central Vista project in New Delhi amid the prevailing condition of coronavirus cases across the country and asked High Court to issue orders related to the matter.
Petitioners Anya Malhotra and Sohail Hashmi were represented by senior advocate Sidharth Luthra in the matter who stated that the petition is concerned with the ongoing construction activity in the part of the Central Vista Redevelopment Project designated as ‘Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project’ and is challenging Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and CPWD’s relentless, unmindful and reckless act of carrying on this project in a manner that poses a threat to the lives of the citizens of Delhi and beyond, including the lives of the workforce/labour engaged in the Project, as it has the potential of being a super spreader, and is in clear breach and violation of the Orders passed by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority.
The plea stated that, at a time when the city of Delhi is grappling with a devastating coronavirus outbreak and when all efforts, particularly and more so by the State and its agencies, have to be towards controlling the spiralling situation, the impugned acts of the Respondents, will nullify and negate all those efforts.
The plea also stated that the Petitioners are also questioning why or how the Project constitutes an “essential service”, merely because some executive mandated contractual deadline has to be met.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma appeared for Union of India earlier had opposed the plea and said petition is of doubtful credentials.
In December 2020, the Central Vista Development Project was inaugurated by PM Modi. The Project intends to revamp 86 acres of land in Delhi, which includes Rajpath, Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate, North Block, and South Block, Shastri Bhavan, India Gate, and Udyog Bhavan.
The project envisages the construction of a new Parliament building, a common secretariat for central government offices, the Prime Minister’s office, and residence, the Special Protection Group building, and the Vice-President Enclave. The construction work for the project is being carried out since January 5, 2021, after the Supreme Court dismissed Petitions challenging the project.