On Thursday, the Supreme Court declined to stay the Central Vista project costing Rs 20,000 crore that seeks to build a new parliament and other central government offices in Lutyens’ zone in central Delhi.
“A similar petition against the project is pending in court. During COVID-19 situation, nobody is going to do anything and there is no urgency,” Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said.
The petitioner, Rajeev Suri, has already filed a petition against the project and it is pending in the top court.
“A similar petition is pending and there’s no need to duplicate it,” the Chief Justice said, adding he can amend the petition.
The petition challenged land use for the Central Vista project. It alleged the project covering 86 acre in Lutyens’ zone is a “brash move” and will deprive people enjoying open and green spaces.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the government, said, “Parliament is being constructed… Why should anyone have any objection?”
A two-judge bench of the Chief Justice of India and Justice Aniruddha Bose heard the petition through video conferencing.
There will be no external changes to the iconic Raisina Hill complex and the parliament building, the government said in October last year after it awarded a consultancy contract to Gujarat-based HCP Design, Planning and Management for revamping the high-profile district in the heart of the national capital.
“There is no question of changing the exterior facade of parliament. Right now the parliament building is not adequate to house the number of members of parliament. Some MPs don’t have place to sit and there is congestion,” Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry Hardeep Singh Puri told NDTV in October 2019.
The work on the central vista – the area between the India Gate and the Rashtrapati Bhavan – will be completed by November 2021, a new parliament building by March 2022 and a common central secretariat by March 2024, according to the government. The plan has been prepared keeping in mind India’s 75th Independence Day in 2022.