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'Construction of Building is an Executive Function; Court Should Not Become Authority of Approval': Solicitor General in SC

'Construction of Building is an Executive Function; Court Should Not Become Authority of Approval': Solicitor General in SC
The Supreme Court on Friday (November 6, 2020) refused to stay any groundwork pertaining to the Central Vista project. Petitioner Rajeev Suri had moved the top court challenging the project on the ground that there is an illegal change in land use and sought directions from the court to stay the project.

The petitioner's attorney argued that some order was issued by the environmental clearance committee, and this matter was considered later, but so far, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, must ensure that no further action will be taken.

A bench comprising Justices A. M. Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and Sanjiv Khanna observed: "If the Centre goes ahead when we are seized of this matter, then it will be at their own risk and cost." The bench queried the petitioner's counsel: "When we ask you to argue, then you talk about amending your petition." Mehta contended that the amended petition be filed and the Centre will file a reply. Petitioner's counsel sought that no work on the ground is allowed, which includes the paperwork.

The reason for staying on the project was opposed by Mehta. "The Lordship should state that whatever happens will be subject to the court's orders," Mehta argued. The bench allowed the petitioner to amend the plea and scheduled a hearing on July 7 for the next date.

The apex court refused to stay the Central Vista project on April 30, which is expected to cost Rs 20,000 crore, which seeks to construct a new Parliament building and other central government offices in central Delhi's Lutyens district. The project plan has been drawn up in conjunction with the 75th Independence Day of India in 2022. The work on Central Vista is expected to be finalized by November 2021.

Iconic buildings such as the Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, the North and South Block buildings, which house important ministries, and even the India Gate, are housed in the Central Vista. By constructing a new Parliament house, a new residential complex that will house the Prime Minister and the Vice-President, in addition to many new office buildings, the Centre is proposing to rebuild.


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