Central Vista Project: Supreme Court disallows construction and demolition of trees, allows Bhumi Pujan

Anushka Mansharamani

The Supreme Court of India has passed an order concerning the cutting down of trees and demolition or construction of any structure.

This order was passed in relation to the Central Vista Project initiated by the Central Government.

The Court stated that on 10th December, the centre can continue with the “Bhumi Pujan” ceremony at the New Parliament building and can also proceed with the paperwork of the project.

But, the top court has barred the government from proceeding with any demolition or construction work.

It is pertinent to note that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, would be laying the foundation of the ceremony on 10th December.

The legality of the Central Vista Project was raised in the Court, but it was still pending. Therefore, the Supreme Court of India expressed displeasure towards the Central Government for going ahead with the construction and demolition process.

The case was heard today for directions as the Bench observed some public developments and had received reports stating that the cutting of trees and demolition of structures had taken place with regards to the Central Vista Project.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta asked for time till 8th December to seek instructions but, the Bench asked Tushar Mehta to not delay the process and get back with the instructions today itself.

The Bench stated that they have respected the decisions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and acted wisely, and they expect the same deference to be shown to the Court.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta then made a statement in favour of the Court.

The Court stated that the matter at hand was suo moto, and the Solicitor General has made a statement that there will be no construction, demolition, or translocation of trees on the concerned sites.

The Court further stated that all formal processes would proceed in the same manner, and the Bhumi Pujan ceremony would take place on 10th December.

There were several petitions filed challenging the Central Vista Project as construction and demolition of structures and trees were to take place in the heart of Lutyens Delhi where the main structures like the Parliament, India Gate, and other important structures were present.

A notification was passed by the Delhi Development Authority regarding the Central Vista Project and on 11th February, this notification was challenged through a writ petition by Rajeev Suri in the Delhi High Court.

The Delhi High Court stated that approval should be taken by the Delhi Development Authority before passing any notification to the Central Vista Project.

Appeals were further filed by the Center and the Delhi Development Authority and the Delhi High Court stayed the order.

Not satisfied by the stay Rajeev Suri approached the Supreme Court.

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