In 2:1 Verdict, Supreme Court Gives Green Light To Central Vista Project

“We hold that there are no infirmities in clearances given, change in land use,” said a three-judge bench in a majority verdict.

In response to petitions challenging the Central Vista project in terms of permissions and clearances, the apex court today said the construction of the new parliament complex near Delhi’s India Gate can go ahead. “We hold that there are no infirmities in clearances given, change in land use,” said a three-judge bench in a majority verdict.

The bench comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna heard petitions that raised concerns over the permissions given — including the No-Objection Certificate given by the Central Vista Committee and the environmental clearances for the construction of a new parliament building.

Justice Sanjiv Khanna, who gave an alternative view, said in his verdict that the project was “bad in law” in terms of land use for two reasons. “There is no intelligible disclosure of public participation and no prior approval of heritage conservation committee,” the judge said.

“I have sent the issue to heritage conservation committee… we have not gone into the merits of the matter,” added the judge, who had agreed on the aspect of notice, the award of consultancy and the order of the Urban Commission.

Arguing that the current British-era Parliament House, opened in 1927, had less space, no fire safety norms or was earthquake-proof, the centre had defended the project in Supreme court. All central ministries need to be in one place to improve the efficiency of the government, the centre had contested.

Labelling the central vista project as a policy decision, the centre had argued that the court cannot strike down policy decisions unless they violate fundamental rights.

“It is a policy decision that all central ministries should be at one place and that place has to be one which has historical significance,” the government had said.

The court, in its verdict today, ordered the government to set up smog towers “as an integral part of the Central Vista project and use environment-friendly construction material”. The environment ministry will pass similar directions for any future projects, the court added.



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