Petitioners object to land use change; existing building under pressure, says Centre
The Supreme Court reserved its judgment on Thursday in petitions challenging the Central Vista redevelopment project in the national capital.
A Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar said the court would examine whether the project complied with land use and environmental regulations peculiar to the area which houses Parliament and the Central Secretariat buildings.
However, the court indicated that it may not have fully accepted submissions made by the petitioners that there was a prohibition on building new structures in the area.
The court allowed parties to file written submissions by November 16.
The government has defended its multicrore redevelopment plan, saying the existing Parliament building, which is nearly 100 years old, is under tremendous pressure and not a brick of the heritage structures will be touched while constructing the new Parliament, Central Secretariat and various Ministries.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has argued that the redevleopment plan was a “broad vision” and on the practical side, it would save the public exchequer ₹1,000 crore in annual expenditure besides improving coordination among Ministries, which would be housed in 10 buildings vantageously connected via metro rail.
The petitioners have objected to the proposed change in land usage of Central Vista, the historical boulevard of approximately 3.5 km from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate, and further to the National Stadium, which is a symbol of India’s historic past, its nationhood, its 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 the enjoyment by the citizens,” they said.
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