SC clears Central Vista project with riders

New Delhi: The supreme court on Tuesday cleared the central government’s ambitious plans to redevelop New Delhi’s iconic central vista, which houses the existing parliament, and build a new parliament for the country.

The project has been opposed by green activists, heritage enthusiasts and conservationists alike on the ground that it would destroy the existing heritage and greenery of the area.

Twin petitions had been filed in the court challenging the government’s plan to change the land use of the area, the grant of environment clearance to the project in a piecemeal manner and the lack of clearances by heritage committees as mandated under the law.

Ruling on these petitions, a three-member bench led by Justice AM Khanwilkar, said that there was nothing improper in the government’s paper work in the project so far. These included environmental clearances and change in land use.

The bench though said that project must be cleared by the heritage committee as required before start of the construction of the project. The government plans to build a new parliament and retrofit the existing one ahead of the G20 summit in Delhi to showcase India’s rich parliamentary history.

Justice Sanjiv Khanna though dissented with the majority of Justices Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari on two counts -there was no prior nod of heritage conservation committee and no public participation at any stage, whether in granting change of land use or environmental clearances.

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