The Delhi High Court will on May 17 hear in detail the plea seeking direction to halt/suspend all construction activity of the Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project in compliance with orders issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority during the subsistence of the peak phase of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh adjourned the matter on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, appearing for the Union of India, opposed the plea and said the petition is of doubtful credentials.
Petitioners Anya Malhotra and Sohail Hashmi, represented by the senior advocate Sidharth Luthra in the matter, have stated that the petition is concerned with the ongoing construction activity in the part of the Central Vista Redevelopment Project designated as 'Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project' and is challenging Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and CPWD relentless, unmindful and reckless act of carrying on this project in a manner that poses a threat to the lives of the citizens of Delhi and beyond, including the lives of the workforce/labour engaged in the project, as it has the potential of being a super spreader, and is in clear breach and violation of the Orders passed by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority.
The plea states that at a time when Delhi is grappling with a devastating coronavirus outbreak and when all efforts, particularly and more so by the state and its agencies, have to be towards controlling the spiraling situation, the impugned acts of the respondents will nullify and negate all those efforts.
The plea also states that the petitioners are also questioning why or how the project constitutes an "essential service", merely because some executive mandated contractual deadline has to be met.
In December 2020, the Central Vista Development Project was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The project intends to revamp 86 acres of land in Delhi, which includes Rajpath, Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate, North Block, and South Block, Shastri Bhavan, India Gate, and Udyog Bhavan. The project envisages the construction of a new Parliament building, a common secretariat for central government offices, the Prime Minister's office, and residence, the Special Protection Group building, and Vice-President Enclave.
The construction work for the project is being carried out since January 5, 2021, after the Supreme Court dismissed petitions challenging the project.
( With inputs from ANI )
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