SC Clears Centre’s Plan to Build 3 Times Bigger Parliament

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The Supreme Court, in a majority judgment, on Tuesday, gave its go-ahead to the multi-crore Central Vista redevelopment project, which proposes to build a new Parliament three times bigger than the existing 93year old heritage building and modify the use of 86.1 acres of land, home to India’s power corridor in the national capital. In their majority opinion, Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari said the court cannot order the government to desist from spending money on one project and use it for something else. They said the government did not act against the public trust.

 

They brushed aside allegations that the government committed foul play and illegally carved out the Parliament project from the Central Vista project.  The majority opinion said the project did not involve any “radical” change in land use. The proposed change in the landscape would not limit “recreational spaces” for the public. It dismissed notions that the project was “sui generis” (unique) and deserved a “heightened judicial review”. “The right to development is a basic human right and no organ of the state is expected to become an impediment in the process of development as long as the government proceeds in accordance with the law,” Justice Khanwilkar wrote.

 

Justice Sanjeev Khanna, in a separate dissent, upheld the project bid notice, award of consultancy, and the order of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission, but concluded that the Centre did not take the public into confidence about the changes proposed for Central Vista, an area, which in post­Independent India, “inspires and connects common people to the citadels of our democracy”. Justice Sanjeev Khanna, in his separate dissent, on Tuesday said the Centre had failed to produce even a single document to show that the objections and suggestions made in the Central Vista project were considered by it. “Deliberative democracy accentuates the right of participation in deliberation, in decision making, and in the contestation of public decision making... Central Government has not placed on record even a single document or minutes to show that the objections and suggestions were considered by it,” Justice Khanna wrote in his dissent. Public participation Adequate public participation and hearing out of the objections avoid a sense of injustice and is “reflective of democratic principle at the heart of our society”

 

 

 

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