New Delhi, Jun 29 (ILNS) The Supreme Court today dismissed the petition against the Delhi High Court order, which had refused to halt the construction of Central Vista Redevelopment Project and had imposed a cost of Rs one lakh on the petitioners.
A Bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Aniruddha Bose upheld the findings of the Delhi High Court, after noting that the petitioner had selectively chosen the Central Vista Project and did not even research about other public projects, which were allowed during lockdown, and dismissed the petition.
During the hearing today, Senior Advocate Siddharth Malhotra who appeared for petitioner Anya Malhotra said, “We pray to issue the writ in the nature of mandamus for the construction during the subsistence of peak face of the pandemic.”
The apex court pointed out that the petitioner did not raise any objection to similar projects in the City and this was recorded by the High Court in its order.
“You are a PIL petitioner, and you said that this is adding to the super spreader. Did you make an honest research as to how many projects were going on and were of the same nature? Did you do an honest research of all similar projects?,” asked Justice Maheshwari.
Senior Advocate Luthra replied the point is that there was no compliance by the contractor.
The Court was hearing the petitions filed against the Delhi High Court Order. One of the plea was filed by Advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav sought directions against the order passed by the Delhi High Court in Central Vista Project. The petitioner had raised questions of Law on grounds that when the whole country has been affected in this pandemic scenario, even small shops and other things have been closed, then why more than 500 labourers were allowed on construction site and what was the urgency?
The petitioner said even the Supreme Court, as well as High Courts and District Courts have closed physical hearing, then why the construction of Central Vista should not be stopped till resuming of normal life of general public.
Second petitioner was Anya Malhotra, who after her petition being dismissed by the Delhi High Court, moved the Supreme Court against the said verdict. The Delhi High Court had also dismissed her plea against the classification of Central Vista work as essential project during the second Covid wave and had imposed a cost of Rs one lakh on both the petitioners.
The appeal filed by Anya Malhotra and Sohail Hashmi said, “The judgement, especially the imposition of exorbitant costs, has a chilling effect on public spirited individuals raising genuine issues of public health and on the right of citizens to question the actions of the government and to hold it accountable, which it is submitted, is the bedrock of democracy.”
The High Court had dismissed the petition as the government had said that the workers were staying at work site, so there would be no spread of Novel Coronavirus, as all the precautions have been taken up by the Centre and it cannot halt the construction under the DDMA order of April 19.
The appeal by petitioners further stated that the “High Court judgement, apart from misconstruing their bonafide intention, have without cause, cast them in a negative light at the cost of their right to reputation.
“Since it (construction work) had the potential of being a superspreader activity, on account of to and fro movement of the workers from the site to their accommodation at Sarai Kale Khan, Karol Bagh, Kalkaji and Nizamuddin etc, it was posing a grave risk to the health and safety of the workers and the residents of Delhi,” the plea added. ILNS/KR/SNG/RJ