Beyond judicial clearance, Central Vista should be able to achieve national consensus
As Justice Khanna has pointed out, public consultation in a democracy requires citizens to be able to assess the project’s rationale, armed with information on the official reasoning, and with sufficient time at their disposal. The essence of their view should inform the final decision. Opportunities for public consultation, already incorporated into modern laws and also in the Delhi Development Act, in no way fetter the executive. It would be appropriate, therefore, for the Centre to attempt consensus-building on Central Vista, without showing undue anxiety and haste in taking up all planned structures together. The pandemic’s course points to uncertainty on restoration of economic health, and ameliorating the damage to large sectors of the economy, especially in services. In the run-up to 2022, the government will be tested on its ability to ensure good health for all citizens, revive normative education and provide stronger welfare. Prioritising Central Vista can prove to be a distraction from the task.
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