In Setback For Gujarat Govt, SC Sets Aside HC’s Sabarmati Ashram Revamp Verdict

New Delhi: In a setback to Gujarat Government, the Supreme Court has asked Gujarat High Court to hear afresh Mahatma Gandhi’s great grandson’s plea against the state government’s plan to redevelop Sabarmati Ashram. The HC’s November 21, 2021 verdict has been set aside by the Supreme Court. 

 The SC has also dismissed the Tushar Gandhi’s plea against the plan which he states would corrupt the pristine simplicity of the Ashram.

This is a setback for Bhupendra Patel-led BJP government in the state which outlined a ₹ 1,200-crore Gandhi Ashram Memorial and Precinct Development Project.

The bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant said that it would be good if HC takes a call on such issues. He said, “We are of the view it would have been appropriate for the HC to decide on these issues after furnishing an opportunity to Gujarat government to file a comprehensive affidavit on the matter addressing the various facets.”

“We clarify that this Court has not entered into the merits of the issues that were raised by the petitioners or the legal correctness of the matter,” the Supreme Court said, and allowed the petitioner and Gujarat government to appeal High Court to take a call on this issue as soon as possible.

Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, representing Tushar Gandhi, said at the end of the hearing, “I have worn a khadi saree especially for today.”

The Gujarat government was represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

In the petition against the redevelopment plan Gandhi had said that it will change the structure of Sabarmati Ashram and corrupt its pristine simplicity, which symbolizes the ideology of Gandhi Ji.  He has argued that with the “nature of redevelopment and the oversized involvement of the government authorities in the conception and execution of the project, the ashram may lose the Gandhian ethos”.

Citing the constitution of Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, the petitioner also said that the Ashrams and memorials should be kept away from government and political influences.

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