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SC slams Centre for going ahead with central vista project amid pendency of cases

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The Supreme Court on Monday slammed the Union government for going ahead with the central vista project despite the pendency of cases related to it in the top court. Notably, PM Modi is supposed to perform the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday for a new parliament building to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 971 crore as part of the central vista project.

“Just because there is no stay that does not mean you can start construction. We did not pass any clear stay order because we thought you are a prudent litigant, and you will show deference to the court. The news items in public domain show you are starting construction,” said the judges

The apex court told solicitor general Tushar Mehta that: “We expected that you will continue with paperwork etc but not move forward so aggressively that you will start construction.”

Following this, the solicitor general sought time to respond to the court’s order that no construction or demolition could continue. However, the court sternly said: “Respond in five minutes or we will pass this order.”

Mehta then assured the court that there will be no construction, demolition or felling of trees. Only foundation stone will be laid, he added.

Following the assurance, the court ruled, “This matter was listed in view of certain developments. The Solicitor General states that there will be no construction activity of any nature on the concerned sites, nor any demolition, including further translocation of trees until pronouncement of judgment in all the cases.”

Central vista project

The project, which was announced in September last year, envisages a new triangular Parliament building, with a seating capacity for 900 to 1,200 MPs, and the target is to construct it by August 2022 when the country will be celebrating its 75th Independence Day. The common Central Secretariat is likely to be built by 2024 as part of the project.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone on December 10 for the new Parliament building and the construction is expected to be completed by 2022 at an estimated cost of Rs 971 crore, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had said on Saturday.

Notably, the apex court has reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions questioning the project on environmental grounds.

 

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