The Delhi High Court today dismissed a challenge against the ambitious Central Vista redevelopment project and fined the petitioner Rs 1 lakh, calling the plea “motivated”.
No question arises of suspending construction work amid the pandemic as “the labourers are staying at the site”, the High Court said. The ongoing construction work had drawn criticism as India battles a deadly second wave of Covid infections, with lakhs getting affected every day.
As per the contract given to the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, the construction has to be completed by November and it should to be allowed to continue, the court stressed.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh were hearing the petition. The legality of the project has already been upheld by the Supreme Court, news agency PTI quoted the bench as saying.
Earlier this month the centre told the High Court the petition was “sheer abuse of the process of law”, and yet another attempt to block the project. A request was also made to reject the petition with a fine.
The petition – by Anya Malhotra and Sohail Hashmi – requested that the Central Vista project be paused as hundreds of workers are being exposed to Covid.
The centre had said the project in the petition is not what is referred to as “the Central Vista project” (which includes Parliament, refurbishment of the North Block, South Block, construction of new offices for central government), but is “limited to the redevelopment of Central Vista Avenue or Rajpath”, where the Republic Day parade is held.
It said the project at Rajpath involved building public amenities, like toilets, paths, parking spaces, four pedestrian underpasses and the “improvement of canals, bridges, lawns, lights etc”.
The new parliament building is the centerpiece of the Rs 20,000-crore Central Vista project that has been brought under the ambit of “essential services”, angering the opposition.