The Supreme Court on Friday (May 7) dismissed a petition seeking a stay on the construction of the Central Vista Project in New Delhi, and asked the petitioner to approach the Delhi High Court under whom the case is pending.
“We are of opinion that since the matter is pending before the high court and the order challenged in this SLP [special leave petition] is only an adjournment, we would not be inclined to enter into the merits of the case. In given circumstances, we request Mr Luthra to file it himself or through any other counsel, to make a request before the chief justice of HC on Monday to take up the matter as early as possible,” a bench of justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari was quoted as saying.
Questioning the urgency of the project when the entire nation is grappling with a massive second wave of COVID-19, the petitioner had prayed the court to halt all construction activity related to the project in compliance with the orders issued by the Department of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).
Even though the DDMA had suspended all construction activities in the national capital in view of the pandemic, the same for the Central Vista Redevelopment Project was underway as it was categorised as “essential”.
“How can construction be an essential activity? In a health emergency, we cannot risk the lives of workers and their families and put more pressure on the healthcare system,” India Today quoted Siddharth Luthra, the senior advocate representing the petitioner as telling the top court.
Luthra argued that the project is forcing workers to step out of their homes with many coming from as far as Kirti Nagar and Sarai Kale Khan.
The petition pertained to construction work at Rajpath, the Central Vista stretch and the adjoining gardens even though the work for the project is underway in eight different locations.
Objecting to the petition, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, however, informed the apex court that the petitioner had filed the same plea in the Delhi High Court, hearing of which is slated on May 17.
Hearing this, the apex court bench dismissed the petition, asking the petitioner to request the high court for an urgent hearing on Monday (May 10).