SC notice on plea claiming no public consultation for Dwarka flyover

A group of two housing societies and some individual residents on Monday told the Supreme Court that no public consultation or environmental clearance was secured for the construction of Dwarka Expressway flyover in the capital.

The top court has sought a response from National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on the residents’ plea seeking stay on the construction activity.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioners, submitted that the NHAI did not hold any public consultation and also, they did not have any environmental clearances. “And, they are felling trees even after the permission granted to do so lapsed,” he submitted.

A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah issued notice to the NHAI and other parties in the matter and sought their response by Friday.

Bhushan, seeking an early hearing on the matter, contended that the NHAI is continuing work round-the-clock and by the time the court will hear the plea, irreversible damage will be done.

He added that the NHAI has already constructed a small road, which passes through densely populated colonies and has six schools on its periphery. Bhushan argued that the Delhi High Court has erred in its finding and allowed the construction to go on saying that it was not a new road, therefore no new clearances were required.

On July 30, the high court had declined to entertain a plea of residents and housing societies seeking directions to the NHAI to place on record all mandatory permissions for carrying out construction on a residential road, DDA Road No 226 in Sectors 22-23, Dwarka.

The plea, filed through advocate Anand Varma, said the high court erred in accepting NHAI’s “baseless contention” that the expressway is not a new national highway. The NHAI insisted that since its not a new highway, hence it is exempted from obtaining mandatory prior Environmental Clearance under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006.

The resident had moved the high court against the construction of the flyover and the connecting road saying that the NHAI was allegedly illegally constructing the flyover as part of the greenfield project. They sought directions to restrain it from going ahead with the construction activity in the interregnum.