NEW DELHI, Oct 29: The Supreme Court Friday adjourned to November 16 the hearing on a petition challenging the change in land use of a plot where the new official residences of the Vice-President and the Prime Minister are stipulated as part of the ambitious Central Vista project in Lutyens’ Delhi.
A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and C T Ravikumar deferred the matter after it was informed that a reply affidavit has been filed by the Centre.
“We are informed that a reply affidavit has been filed online. Copy of the reply to be kept in the paper book. Petitioner granted time to file rejoinder as prayed. List on November 16,” the bench 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 3-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.
The bench had earlier asked the Centre to file a short affidavit on the issue.
The counsel appearing for the petitioner had said the authorities have not demonstrated any public interest as far as the change in land use from recreational to residential for the plot is concerned.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, had told the bench that official residences for the Vice-President and the Prime Minister are stipulated on the plot.
Mehta had said the recreational area could be shifted but he also cited security concerns considering that Parliament would come up there.
The bench asked whether he would like to file a short affidavit on the limited point raised in the matter.
In January this year, the apex court, by 2:1 majority, had held that the grant of environmental clearance and the notification for change in land use for construction of new Parliament building under the project was valid.
The top court’s verdict had come on several pleas, including those against various permissions given to the project by authorities including the grant of environmental clearance and the nod to change of land use.
The top court had in June this year dismissed a separate plea challenging the Delhi High Court order which had rejected a petition seeking to halt Central Vista construction work in view of the COVID pandemic. (PTI)