HOLDING the Central Vista project of national significance, the Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a petition which had requested a stay on construction which took place at Central Vista Avenue during the peak phase of the Covid -19 pandemic and imposed a cost of Rs 1 Lakh on the petitioner.
The division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said the work at Central Vista Avenue was integral to the work of the Central Vista Project and was of vital importance to the public. The construction of the Central Vista Avenue redevelopment cannot be viewed in isolation, he added.
“Since the workers working on the project remain on site, there is no question of issuing instructions to suspend work on the Central Vista Avenue redevelopment project,” the court said, adding that the DDMA in the ordinance of April 19 did not prohibit the construction. activity where workers live on site.
The court of May 17 had reserved its judgment in the case. Declaring that the entire Central Vista project is a critical project of national importance, the court said on Monday that sovereign functions of parliament would also be exercised there and that the public was extremely interested in the project.
“The legality of the project has been confirmed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” added the court.
He further noted that the work on Central Avenue must be completed by November and that time is the essence of the contract. “The work must be completed within the allotted time,” said the bench, adding that once the workers have remained at the site and “all facilities have been provided, COVID-19 protocols are being followed and behavior relevant to COVID-19 is being tracked, “There is no reason for the court to stop the project.
“This is a motivated petition preferred by the petitioner and not a genuine public interest dispute,” the court said, while imposing a cost on the petitioners.
The petition filed by Anya Malhotra, a translator, and Sohail Hashmi, historian and documentary maker, said they were concerned about the “potential for spread and threat” posed by continued construction at the project site and the plight of workers who are being exposed to the infection on a daily basis. Center, in a written response, said the petition deserved to be dismissed with “exemplary costs” on the grounds “that it was an abuse of legal process.”
The Center had called for the petition to be rejected and called it “another attempt” to block the project. He had also argued that the DIP was a facade to “satisfy a sort of vanity in the minds of some individuals”. The government also argued that the April 19 DDMA authorized construction activities during the curfew when workers resided at the site.
“Such attempts have been going on since the start of the project under one pretext or another and under one name or another,” the union government said in a response to the petition, while arguing that the case deserved to be discussed. rejected with “fresh copy” on the grounds “that it is an abuse of legal process”.
Senior lawyer Siddharth Luthra, representing the petitioners, had argued that the petitioners were in no way seeking to override the Supreme Court ruling allowing Central Vista and that the prayer to stop construction was limited to construction during the phase peak of the pandemic.
“When we arrived at your lordships, we were afraid that their abandonment would lead to an Auschwitz on the gardens of central Delhi, on the gardens of the India Gate,” Luthra said on May 17.
Malhotra and Hashmi in the petitioner had also asked “why or how the project constitutes an ‘essential service’ simply because a certain contractual deadline mandated by the executive must be respected”.