Supreme Court Has Given Permission to File Writ Pleas Against Central Vista Project’s Environmental Clearance

by Shatakshi Gupta

The Supreme Court has allowed the petitioner to challenge the environmental clearance for the Central Vista project of 20000 crores.  The Supreme Court said that the petitioners should file the petition within a week.

 The Supreme Court allowed senior advocate Shyam Diwan to file a petition, challenging the environmental clearance within a week.  The Union Government will also file an answer on the petition.  The Supreme Court will hear the case after two weeks in the week commencing from 17 August. Mr. Divan said the court should not restrain the challenge to the June 17 environmental clearance, but allow citizens to approach the National Green Tribunal too. On June 19, the Bench ordered that “any petition or proceedings” concerning the Central Vista project would be heard only by it.

During the hearing, on behalf of the Central Government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the petitioners need to take note that we are not working with private industry. This project is related to the national interest.  A decision states that public law issues cannot be raised by public-spirited persons.  It should be noted here that the project is being delayed. At the same time, the petitioner said, 1 lakh square meter township is being built in the name of Parliament.  Any citizen can question a project.

Also read: Why We Should Think About Our Environment Now?

 In the case, the central government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, citing the need for the project and defended it.  The central government said that the 100-year-old Parliament House is indicating its age.  The building is facing several safety issues including man-made and natural defences such as severe fires and earthquakes.

The Centre said that in view of these challenges, a new modern building of Parliament is required to be constructed.  The Centre said that the construction of the present Parliament House started in 1921 and was completed in 1937.  It is almost 100 years old and is a grade-I building in one of the heritage buildings.  Parliamentary activities have increased manifold in the last several years.  Therefore, this crisis is indicating more utility.

 The Centre said that the building of the Parliament House is not able to meet the current requirements in terms of lack of space as well as facilities and technical matters.  The central government told the court that there are more than 51 ministries in different places.  Many departments are running in rented houses.  A thousand crores of rupees annually go in their rent.  In such a situation, it would be great if all the ministries, secretariats are in one place.  In view of this, the government wants to build a new building in Parliament House.  The government also argued that the old building is over 100 years old, so many dangers always remain. In Central Vista, there are buildings of important ministries, Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, North and South Block buildings.  The central government is trying to re-develop it by building a new parliament building, a new residential complex, which will have many new office buildings beside the Prime Minister and Vice President.  The Central Public Works Department i.e. CPWD has already given an affidavit that the existing building of Parliament does not meet the safety standards