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Construction of new parliament building gets approval from Supreme Court, 2:1 majority decided

The Supreme Court has today approved the Central Vista project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project. A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court has given this decision with a majority of 2:1. The Supreme Court has said that it is right to change the land use of the land by the DDA. However, the court said that smog towers should be installed during its construction to prevent pollution. Not only this, the approval of the Heritage Committee should also be taken before construction.

Sanjeev Khanna said the process of changing the land use was wrong by law

Justices Khanwilkar and Maheshwari have ruled in a majority. At the same time, in a minority judgment, Justice Sanjeev Khanna has termed the process of changing land use as lawful. Environmental clearance is also said to be unclear. But only the decision to approve the project which came by a majority of 2: 1 will be valid. That is, the construction of new parliament and government buildings will be possible after obtaining the approval of the Heritage Committee.

This ambitious project of the Central Government was challenged by many petitioners. It was said in these petitions that the project was started without passing proper legislation. There are drawbacks in the process of getting environmental clearance for this. This scheme of thousands of crores of rupees is just a waste of government money. Parliament and its surrounding historic buildings are feared to be damaged by the project. On November 5, the Supreme Court reserved the judgment on the petitions challenging the Central Vista project. The court then said, “We reject the argument that no new construction can take place in Central Vista. Project will considered followed if all legal requirements for the project.” 

On 7 December, the court took cognizance that despite pending its decision, the government is increasing the work of the project. Then after the displeasure of the court, the Center assured that neither construction will be done in Central Vista nor any old building will be demolished before the verdict comes. After this, the court approved the foundation stone program of the new Parliament House to be held on 10 December. Construction of the new building has been stalled since the foundation stone.

Government Response

In response to the petitions, the government said that the existing Parliament House and the Ministry are proving to be inadequate according to the changing requirements. While constructing the new Central Vista, not only environment will be taken care of, but heritage buildings will also not be harmed. During the cross-examination, the counsel for the Central Government also said that at this time all the Ministries are scattered in many buildings. Officers have to use vehicles to travel from one ministry to another. It costs crores of rupees every year to pay the rent of some ministries. It is wrong to say that government money is being wasted in the construction of Central Vista. Rather, this project is very important to prevent wastage of money going on till now.

What is Central Vista Project

The new Parliament complex is to be constructed under the Central Vista Project. There will be 876 seats of Lok Sabha, 400 seats of Rajya Sabha and 1224 seats of Central Hall. This will eliminate the need to seat members separately during the joint sitting of Parliament. In Central Vista, 51 ministries will be built in 10 interconnected buildings. Right now these ministries are running away from each other from 47 buildings. An underground route will also be built to connect the ministries to the nearest metro station. A new residence for the Prime Minister and the Vice President will also be built near the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Both the residences are currently away from Rashtrapati Bhavan.