The Delhi High Court reserved its orders after hearing arguments on a Public Interest Litigation seeking the suspension of the construction work on parts of the Central Vista redevelopment.
The petitioners moved the court seeking to temporarily halt work amid the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic
Senior Advocate Siddarth Luthra, appearing for the petitioners, told the high court division bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh that the temporary suspension of construction is required to protect the lives of workers and others involved in the project as well as Delhi residents.
Luthra told the court that they are not seeking a suspension of the construction of new parliament and other parts of the project but only of the 3.5-kilometre stretch of the Rajpath.
The constitution casts a responsibility on the state to protect life and liberty and the government has not answered as to what is essential in this construction, Luthra told the court.
The central government questioned the motive of the petitioners and said that multiple construction projects are ongoing but the petitioners chose only one project to come to the court.
The Solicitor General called the PIL a “facade” with the intention of another attempt at stopping the project.
There is no denial that it is everyone’s responsibility, and more so of the central government, to protect health of the people and said that safety precautions are in place at the construction site.
The Central Vista project includes the construction of a new parliament, a new residence for the prime minister, the vice president as well as a revamp of the Rajpath.
The Supreme Court had earlier granted a go-ahead for the project on fulfillment of certain conditions.
The higher court has yet to schedule the date to pronounce its order.