The Supreme Court also refused to stop the construction work of Central Vista in the wake of the Kovid-19 pandemic. Earlier, the Delhi High Court had turned down the demand to stop the work of Central Vista. Now the Supreme Court has dismissed the petition challenging the order of the High Court.
Supreme Court ruckus
A bench of Supreme Court Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Aniruddha Bose said it did not want to interfere with the High Court’s order as the petitioners had chosen to stop the construction work of the Central Vista project while in the national capital. Didn’t even do basic research about other public projects going on during the lockdown.
Plea may be motivated by malice: Supreme Court
The bench said that the High Court had said with regard to the PIL that it was motivated by mala fide and lacked credibility, which may be correct. The High Court had on May 31 dismissed the PIL seeking a stay on the project and also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioners. The top court also refused to interfere in the matter of fine of Rs 1 lakh imposed on the petitioners.
Will have to pay a fine of 1 lakh
Central Vista Project There are plans to build a new Parliament building and a new residential complex, including the residences of the Prime Minister and the Vice-President, as well as several new office buildings and the Central Secretariat for the offices of the ministries. During the hearing, the Supreme Court bench said, ‘If your conduct was this (maliciously motivated), then the fine of one lakh rupees is less.’ He asked the petitioners that when the affidavit was filed in the High Court that the protocol related to Kovid-19 was fully followed in the project, why did you continue with the trial?
He had filed a petition
The petition was filed by translator Anya Malhotra and historian and documentary producer Sohail Hashmi. Appearing for him, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra said that when the petition was filed, the rules regarding COVID-19 were not being followed and he followed the rules later. “From April 19 to April 30, the rules were not followed,” he said.
Supreme Court tough questions
The bench asked that being a philanthropist, did he find out how many projects were allowed to continue construction activity during this period? The court asked that on what basis did the petitioners select the Central Vista project? To this Luthra said that the petitioners say that they only wanted the order to stop the construction activity in which the COVID-19 protocol instructions issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) were not complied with.
What did the Delhi High Court say
The Delhi High Court had on May 31 allowed the construction work of the Central Vista project to continue, saying it was an “important and necessary” project of national importance. Along with this, the court dismissed the petition against the project, saying that it was motivated and malicious with some motive. The court had imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioners.
The court had said that it disagrees with the claim of the petitioners that the project is not an essential activity and hence should be put on hold during the current pandemic. It had said, “The present petition has been filed to stop the redevelopment of Central Vista Avenue with immediate effect. This work is part of the Central Vista Project and is of significant public importance. The construction of the Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project cannot be seen in isolation.’
The court had observed that in fact the entire Central Vista project is an urgent project of national importance and there is a special interest of the public in this project. The court had also observed that the petition was motivated by a motive and not a genuine PIL. The court had directed the petitioners to deposit the amount with the Delhi State Legal Services Authority within four weeks while imposing a fine of Rs one lakh.