New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday sought response from the Centre, within three days, on a plea challenging a notification for change in land use, which would deprive residents of Delhi a vast chunk of green space in the Central Vista area.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted before a bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar that he will seek instructions from the government. He added since the Prime Minister and Vice President’s house is coming up there, therefore it would not be possible to have a recreational area in the vicinity.
After hearing arguments, the bench, also comprising Justice C.T. Ravikumar, posted the matter for further hearing on Friday.
The plea, filed by social activist Rajeev Suri, who had earlier challenged the project earlier citing illegal change in land use and absence of environmental clearance, through advocate Shikhil Suri, contended that Centre did, mala fide, issue a notification dated October 28, 2020, notifying the change in land use, which will deprive residents of Delhi a vast chunk of highly treasured open and green space in Central Vista area available for social and recreational activity.
The plea argued that this notification stands against Article 21 (Right to Life) in the right to enjoyment of wholesome life. “Since the subject plot no 1 takes over spaces of a children’s recreational park and bus terminal for public transport, heightened judicial scrutiny is required to cut through the well disguised illegalities and infirmities to reach the violations of statutory laws,” said the plea.
The plea sought the top court to issue directions to call records and quash the notification concerned issued by the Centre, through the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, and, also to prevent loss oequities by staying activities such demolition of buildings, cutting of trees, excavation of land and other actions which may be irreversible.
The Central Vista redevelopment project, which covers a three-km stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate in Lutyens’ Delhi, at the cost of Rs 20,000 crore, where several government buildings — including the Parliament House and ministry offices, will be rebuilt.
In January, this year, the Supreme Court had cleared the decks for the Central Vista project by upholding the environmental clearance and the notification for change in land use.