Central Vista: Plea in SC challenging HC order allowing construction

A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court challenging a Delhi High Court judgment, which junked a petition to halt the Central Vista redevelopment project amid the Covid2.0 outbreak.

The petition filed by Pradeep Kumar Yadav has challenged the May 31 verdict of the high court which ruled that work on the project is of national importance, and it has to be completed within time-bound schedule by November 2021.

Junking the plea against the project, the high court had said that the petitioners seeking to halt construction activity in connection with Central Vista redevelopment project had “ill-intent and lack of bonafides”, and also slapped Rs 1 lakh fine on them.

Yadav was not a party to the proceedings in the high court.

“The high court was not justified in holding that the PIL Writ Petition filed by the individual Writ Petitioners therein was motivated and not a genuine public cause by drawing presumption and assumption in the absence of proven material facts and evidence,” said Yadav’s plea.

The plea argued that the high court failed to appreciate that a bigger construction work with huge number of innocent laborers workers continuing their work during the peak Covid-19 pandemic period “is a serious public health issue concern”.

Yadav’s plea questioned the high court evaluation of the necessity of the ongoing construction activities of Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment project especially during the peak COVID-19 pandemic and total lockdown period as stipulated in the DDMA order dated April 19.

“High Court was not justified in holding that the Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment project is essential activities during the peak COVID-19 Pandemic crisis, epically when the whole country have stopped essential functioning during the lockdown period,” contended the plea.

The Central Vista Project includes the Parliament, refurbishment of North Block, South Block, construction of new offices for central government, i.e., common Central Secretariat, central conference facilities etc. which includes Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project (i.e., both sides of Rajpath where Republic Day celebrations are held every year, on 26th January). “Thus, this project is a vital public project, said the High Court.

Yadav’s plea argued that the high court was not justified in holding that the petition was filed with motivation to stall the construction activities of Central Vista Avenue redevelopment project, especially when the pleading and prayer of the petitioners were clearly to suspend the construction activities only during the peak lockdown period.