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Central Vista construction: SC declines to interfere, asks Delhi HC to consider granting early hearing

The petitioner had sought a direction to halt the construction activities of the Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project amid the Covid-19 surge in Delhi, where the project is based, and the consequent threat posed by the same to the labourers involved in the construction.

Construction activities of Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project in progress. (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

The Supreme Court Friday declined to interfere with the Central Vista redevelopment project, citing that the matter is already pending with the Delhi High Court, Bar and Bench reported.

While pronouncing the order on a petition seeking to halt the construction activities of the project, a bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari, however, granted the petitioner the liberty to mention it before the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court for early hearing.

The apex court also asked the Delhi HC to consider the plea for an early hearing.

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“Since the matter is pending before High Court and appeal is against order of adjournment, we are not inclined to enter into the merits of the case. In the given circumstance, we request Shri (Sidharth) Luthra or any other counsel to make request before the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court on Monday to take up the matter as urgently as possible,” the bench said. “We hope and trust that High Court shall consider the prayer for early hearing.”

Read |Digging work at Rajpath as Central Vista redevelopment project takes shape

The petitioner had sought a direction to halt the construction activities of Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project amid the Covid-19 surge in Delhi, where the project is based, and the consequent threat posed by the same to the labourers involved in the construction.

“We are facing a humanitarian health crisis. If this project is deferred by 4 to 6 weeks nothing will happen. We suspended IPL. We have a situation where the spread of COVID is unprecedented,” Bar and Bench quoted Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra, who appeared for petitioners Anya Malhotra, a translator, and Sohail Hashmi, a historian and documentary filmmaker.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Union government, said that the petitioners coming to court by way of a PIL and filing a Special Leave Petition (SLP) against an adjournment order of the Delhi HC raises serious doubt.

The petitioners had initially filed the plea in the Delhi High Court. On Tuesday, the HC said it would hear the plea on May 17 after first going through the Supreme Court’s January 5 judgement on the project. Luthra had said that they are in no manner seeking to overreach the judgment of the Supreme Court and the prayer is limited to seeking an interim stay on the construction during the peak phase of pandemic.

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