Supreme Court on Friday, stated that any change at the ground level made by authorities for the Central Vista project, covering the 3-km stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate in Lutyens’ Delhi, will be “at their own risk”. The decision follows the centre’s point that there was no overreaching of the process in this development project worth Rs 20,000 crore.
The directions came while SC was hearing a plea against the Delhi High Court order which said the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) was not required to apprise it before notifying changes in the Master Plan to allow the Central Vista project.
Advocate Shikhil Suri appearing for petitioner Rajiv Suri stated that the government was churning approvals for the following project irrespective of the pendency in the court. In response to which the three-judge bench comprising Justices Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and Sanjiv Khanna said, “Can we restrain authorities from acting as per law? We have already said, whatever steps are taken, it is on their risk.”
The bench had directed the petitioner to file the compilation before June 23 while asked the centre to file the response by July 3. The matter is listed for the next hearing on July 7.
Rajiv Suri had moved the top court seeking stay on the Central Vista project till its pending in the court and has challenged the illegal change in land use. He argued that this project is a symbol of India’s historic past, nationhood, and vibrant democracy.
“It is where living history breathes from every inch of this cherished stretch of land, where the Republic Day parade and Beating Retreat are held every year. Central Vista is an essential ingredient of our sovereignty and pride, and also where recreational spaces are available for enjoyment by the citizens. It is a major attraction for the tourists who visit the country,” stated the petition.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that no norms had been violated in granting the approvals in the project.
Appearing for intervening petitioner senior advocate Sanjay Hegde said that inspite of the case being pending with the top court, approval has been granted for the construction activities and environment clearances have also been obtained which should not be done.
Advocate Hegde has argued that the court should give directions not to grant any clearance and allow centre government to undertake any groundwork until the case is pending. Otherwise, they are going to challenge those clearances too in addition to the previous one on the next date of hearing i.e. July 7.