The Supreme Court on Monday approved the Narendra Modi government's Central Vista project, deeming it “legal and valid”. The court was hearing a batch of petitions questioning the project’s compliance with land use and environmental regulations.
The verdict was delivered by a bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna, with Khanna writing a separate opinion.
“Modifications regarding change in land use in plot 228 of the master plan of Delhi and zonal development plan for zone c & d stands confirmed,”Khanwilkar said, adding that the project proponent “will set up smog towers as being an integral part of the new parliament building project”.
He also said the respondents shall obtain permission before starting any redevelopment work.
Justice Khanna said, “I have agreed on the aspect of notice inviting bid, award and order of urban commission with the opinion of respected brother Justice Khanwilkar. However on the aspect of change of land use: I have held that the same was initiated as being bad and law.”
He added that he had remitted the matter to the Heritage Conservation Committee.
On November 5, 2020, the apex court had reserved its judgement on the Rs 20,000-crore Central Vista project, involving renovation and redevelopment of approximately 86 acres of land in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi, Live Law reported.
The Central Vista refers to the 4-km stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate. The project to revamp the area was announced in September 2019 and in December 21 of the same year, the Delhi Development Authority, tasked with managing and developing public land in the city, issued a notice proposing to change the use of 90 acres of land in Zones C and D of the Delhi Master Plan 2021 from “recreational open spaces” to “government offices”.
The aim of the project is to “replan the entire Central Vista area from the gates of Rashtrapati Bhavan up to India Gate”. The focus, however, would be on constructing a parliament building by 2022, redeveloping a “common Central Secretariat” by March 2024, and upgrading the “public facilities, amenities, parking, and green spaces of the Central Vista to make it a world class tourist destination by November 2020”.
The reasons as to why the Parliament House and the Central Secretariat needed to be replaced range from “acute shortage of office space” to inefficiencies of the structures to “difficulties in coordination” among ministries.
Here’s a sampler of our coverage of the Central Vista project: