The construction of the new parliament complex near Delhi’s India Gate can go ahead, the Supreme Court said today in response to petitions that challenged the Central Vista project. “We hold that there are no infirmities in clearances given, change in land use,” a three-judge bench said in a majority verdict.
The new parliament building is the centerpiece of the Rs 20,000-crore Central Vista project, which aims to build and refurbish the government buildings on part of the 4-km stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently laid the foundation stone for the new Parliament, but the government had assured the court that no construction will be done till the judgment is delivered.
The petitioners had raised concerns over the permissions given — including the no-objection certificate given by the Central Vista Committee and the environmental clearances for the construction of a new parliament building.
But the government had defended the project, arguing that the current Parliament House, opened in 1927, had less space, no fire safety norms or was earthquake proof.
It had also contended that all central ministries need to be in one place to improve the efficiency of the government.
The government had also argued that the Central Vista project is a policy decision and the top court cannot strike down policy decisions. The court, it said, can decide on matters of policy only if it violates fundamental rights.
“It is a policy decision that all central ministries should be at one place and that place has to be one which has historical significance,” the government had told the court.