SC dismisses plea to stay Central Vista project

Supreme Court dismisses plea challenging Delhi High Court order rejecting to stay Central Vista project

"Genuine PILs can do wonders but questionable ones caused problems," the bench said

The HC had said the work on the project of national importance has to be completed within time-bound schedule by November, 2021. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to interfere with Delhi High Court's refusal to halt the Central Vista Redevelopment project during Covid-19 pandemic, saying questionable PILs caused problems to the system.

A three-judge bench presided over by Justice A M Khanwilkar dismissed a plea by Anya Malhotra, a translator, and Sohail Hashmi, a historian, against the May 31 judgement by the High Court.

The Delhi High Court had called the PIL “motivated” and imposed cost of Rs one lakh on petitioners.  

The court questioned senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for the petitioners, as to why he kept harping on non-compliance of the project without showing the facts.

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"Did you do honest research as how many projects were going on and were of same nature," the bench asked the counsel, further questioning him why the petitioners confined themselves to the project concerned.

The bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Aniruddha Bose, pointed out that the court has given nearly 45 minutes to the counsel to argue in the matter, yet he could not convince it on the aspect of non-compliance in the ongoing construction activities at Central Vista project.   

Luthra referred to the imposition of Rs one Lakh cost by the High Court along with strictures against the petitioners.

"Looking at the attitude, the cost impost by the High Court is too less," the bench told the counsel, saying he could not convince and respond to queries in connection with the project.  

"Genuine PILs can do wonders but questionable ones caused problems," the bench said.

In their plea, the petitioners claimed the High Court erroneously and without any justification or basis held their plea to be "ill-intended, motivated and lacking bonafides". The judgement, apart from misconstruing the bonafide intention of the petitioners, cast them in a negative light without cause and at the cost of their right to reputation, they claimed.

The HC had said the work on the project of national importance has to be completed within time-bound schedule by November, 2021. It also said public is widely interested in the project, which envisaged new triangular Parliament building, with seating capacity for 900 to 1,200 MPs. The ongoing construction has been repeatedly criticised by main Opposition Congress party leaders.

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