Delhi HC dismisses plea to halt Central Vista work amid Covid pandemic; Says the project is of national importance

Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition which had sought a stay on the construction taking place at Central Vista Avenue during the peak phase of COVID-19 pandemic and imposed a cost of Rs 1 Lakh on the petitioner. The division bench of Chief Justice D.N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said the work at Central Vista Avenue is part and parcel of the work at Central Vista Project and of vital public importance. The construction of Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment cannot be seen in isolation, it added.

The Bench said that since the workers working at the project are staying on site, there is no question of issuing directions to suspend the work of Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project. The Bench added the DDMA in the April 19 order has not prohibited construction activity where labourers are residing on-site.

The court on 17th May  had reserved its judgement in the case. Stating that the whole Central Vista Project is an essential project of national importance, the court today said sovereign functions of parliament are also going to be conducted there and the public is vitally interested in this project.

“The legality of the project has been upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” added the court.
It further noted that the work at Central Avenue has to be completed before November and said time is the essence of the contract. “The work has to be completed within time-bound schedule,” the bench said, adding once the workers are staying at the site and all the facilities have been provided, COVID-19 protocols are adhered to and COVID-19 appropriate behaviour is being followed, there is no reason for the court to stop the project.

The government has said, a false narrative was created over the Central Vista project in the last few months. Reacting to Delhi High Court’s nod to the project, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister  Hardeep Singh Puri said, several false allegations were levelled against the Centre on this issue. He said, this project has not been conceptualized recently and it was discussed during the UPA government. He said the work on this project was started before the COVID-19 pandemic. He clarified that none of the historic buildings will be touched while completing the project.

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