Supreme Court verdict today on pleas challenging Central Vista Project

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By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | January 5, 2021 9:47:52 am

New Parliament building, MPs’ chambers shifted, on-ground survey, Parliament foundation stone, Delhi news, Indian express newsAn artist’s impression of the new Parliament.

The Supreme Court will on Tuesday pronounce judgment on various petitions challenging the re-development project of the Central Vista project.

A Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, while reserving the case for judgment in early November, had said the court would examine whether the project complied with land use and environmental regulations peculiar to the area which houses the Parliament and Central Secretariat buildings.

On December 7, last year the top court had allowed the Centre to proceed with the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the Central Vista project on December 10 after the government assured it that no construction or demolition work would commence till the apex court decides the pending pleas on the issue. The Centre had told the bench that there would be only foundation stone-laying ceremony, and no construction, demolition or felling of trees would be done for the project as of now.

The Central Vista revamp, announced in September, 2019 envisages a new triangular Parliament building, with seating capacity for 900 to 1,200 MPs, that is to be constructed by August, 2022 when the country will be celebrating its 75th Independence Day.

The pending petitions have challenged the notification on December 21, 2019, by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) regarding changes in land use for the redevelopment.

Defending the project, the Centre had told the court that the existing Parliament building had many deficiencies, such as inadequacy of space, structural weaknesses and security issues. It said the Central Vista project will save the public exchequer Rs 1,000 crore that the Government currently pays as rent for many of its offices. The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) had submitted that the current strength of the Lok Sabha has remained at 545 on delimitation carried out on the basis of the 1971 Census and that it is likely to increase substantially after 2026 when the cap ends.

On the need for the Central Vista, it said the present Parliament building “is almost 100 years old and a Heritage Grade-I building.” “Therefore, it is showing signs of distress due to over-utilisation and is not able to meet the current requirements in terms of space, amenities and technology. The building structure also does not satisfy the upgraded earthquake Zone IV provisions regarding safety,” it had said.

It had submitted that the decision to have a new Parliament building has not been taken in haste and no law or norms have been violated in any manner for the project.

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