New Delhi: The Delhi High Court is set to give its judgement on Monday (May 31) on the plea that sought direction to halt the ongoing construction of the Central Vista project in the national capital amid the COVID-19 situation in India.
The Division Bench, which is being headed by Chief Justice of Delhi Dhirubhai Naranbhai Patel, kept the order reserved upon hearing the argument of lawyers of both sides.
The Delhi High Court was hearing a plea seeking direction to halt/suspend all current construction activities of the Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project in compliance with orders pushed out by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) during the subsistence of the peak phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who is appearing for the Union of India (UOI), had expressed his opinions against the plea by pointing out that the present petition is only concerned with the Central Vista and not about other constructions.
In his argument, Mehta also pointed out that the public interest is “very selective” in particular regarding the Central Vista project matter.
“The petitioner is not concerned about other workmen and other construction works that are going on maybe 2-3 km away from there.” he said.
“There is something unusual, and beyond what is portrayed as public interest. This is a facade of PIL to disguise something they always wanted to stop under one pretext or the other,” Mehta added.
Responding to this, the concerned Ministry of Union had called the plea “sheer abuse of the process of law and is one more attempt to stall the project” and urged the High Court to dismiss the petition at once with exemplary costs on the ground that it is an abuse of the process of law.
“Such attempts are going on since the inception of the project under one pretext or the other and in one name or the other. The following facts will satisfy this Court that the petitioner has, while taking refuge under the present situation, made an attempt to stall the project under the garb of ‘public interest’,” the Centre said in its affidavit.
What is the Central Vista Project?
The redevelopment project of the Central Vista — the power corridor of the country — envisages a new triangular Parliament building, a common Central Secretariat, the revamping of the three-km-long Rajpath from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate and new residences for the prime minister and the vice president.
On May 7, the Supreme Court had urged Delhi High Court to consider the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by petitioner Anya Malhotra looking for a stay in construction work of the Central Vista project in New Delhi amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis across the country and had asked the High Court to issue orders related to it.