Central Vista Project: Supreme Court junks plea challenging change in land use of plot

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Updated: November 23, 2021 11:53 AM

A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said that sufficient explanation has been offered by authorities concerned which justify the change in land use of the plot.

A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said that sufficient explanation has been offered by authorities concerned which justify the change in land use of the plot.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea challenging the change in land use of a plot where the new official residence of the vice president will come up as part of the ambitious Central Vista project in Lutyens’ Delhi. The top court said it’s a matter of policy and court can’t interfere unless some malafide is shown in the decision.

“In light of the challenge, a detailed affidavit has been filed. It is not the case of the petitioner that the authorities have no power to introduce such change. It is the argument of the Petitioner that since in the past it was a recreational area, it should have been retained like that. This cannot be the scope of judicial review”, the bench said.

A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said that sufficient explanation has been offered by authorities concerned which justify the change in land use of the plot. “We find no reason to examine the matter further and therefore put a quietus to the entire controversy by dismissing this petition,” the bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar, said.

The Central Vista revamp, announced in September 2019 envisages a new triangular Parliament building, with a seating capacity for 900 to 1,200 MPs, that is to be constructed by August, 2022 when the country will celebrate its 75th Independence Day.

The common Central Secretariat is to be built by 2024 under the project that covers a three-km stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate in the national capital.

The apex court was hearing a petition challenging the change in land use of plot number one from recreational area to residential.

Appearing for petitioner Rajeev Suri, Advocate Shikhil Suri said the changes were not in public interest. He contended that six acres of green area is being taken over for the same.

But the bench said, ”They say that the area is proposed to be made into residential area for Vice President…it is a policy decision. How is it illegal? What are the malafides”, asked Justice Khanwilkar. “Assuming the plot was used for recreational area in the post, is it not open for the authorities to change for the holistic development of the area”, he asked.

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