Supreme Court bench clears Central Vista project
The Supreme Court on Tuesday approved the redevelopment plan for Central Vista project in a 2:1 verdict.
The SC verdict included the construction of a new Parliament building and a common Central Secretariat.
The go-ahead verdict by SC came on Wednesday in response to the petitions challenging the Central Vista project.
The three-judge bench, however, said clearance of the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) was mandatory.
The same should be obtained by the project consultant before proceeding with the development work, the bench added.
The three-judge bench also directed regarding the installation of smog guns at the project site as a measure to curb pollution. They also asked the Ministry of Environment and Forests to consider having smog guns while carrying out any such development work in near future.
The 2:1 majority verdict was given by Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna regarding the 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.
However, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, disagreed about the change of land use and prior approval of HCC. The dissenting judge even found the environment clearance inadequate.
The government had defended the project in court, arguing that the 93-year-old existing Parliament house, opened in 1927, had less space, no fire safety norms, and wasn't earthquake-proof. It also pointed out that all central ministries need to be in one place to improve the government's efficiency.
The redevelopment plan includes a new Parliament building which is said to be the centrepiece of the Rs. 20,000-crore Central Vista project and a common Central Secretariat for central government offices, along with the Prime Minister office and residence, Special Protection Group building and Vice-President Enclave and a revamp of the 4-km stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate, located in New Delhi.
The new triangular complex will be big enough to occupy 1,224 MPs lawmakers (888 in the Lok Sabha and 384 in the Upper House).
It is targeted to be built by 2024. The 64,500 sq/m new building will replace the 93-year-old existing Parliament house.
On December 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for the Central Vista project after the SC permitted the Centre to go ahead with this function.