The Centre has told the Delhi High Court that the PIL seeking stay on the construction of Central Vista here amid the raging COVID pandemic was another attempt to stall the project which has been facing such attempts from the beginning.
Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra presented the appeal to a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh.
The petitioners, Anya Malhotra and Sohail Hashmi had appealed to the Supreme Court against the high court's May 4 order adjourning their case to May 17.
Luthra told the bench that he was bringing up the matter because the Supreme Court had asked the petitioners to request an urgent hearing before the high court on May 10 after the Supreme Court had asked them to do so on May 7.
The matter was adjourned by the high court, which stated that it wanted to review the apex court's January 5 decision approving the Central Vista project first.
The petitioners argued in their Supreme Court appeal that the project was not a necessary activity and therefore should be placed on hold for the time being during the pandemic.
Construction workers are being transported from the Sarai Kale Khan and Karol Bagh areas to Rajpath and Central Vista which could make them vulnerable to Covid 19, Luthra said to the court. He made the same case in front of the high court on Monday, asking for an expedited hearing.
In light of the "crumbling" healthcare system, the plea also argued that the project's continuation was a source of concern, the plea mentioned, reported The Hindu.
The Centre has informed the Delhi High Court that the PIL seeking a stay on the construction of Central Vista in the midst of the raging Covid pandemic is yet another attempt to stymie the project, which has been dogged by such attempts on various pretexts since its inception.
The petitioners' "intentions and motives" are evident from the fact that the project in question has been singled out by the petitioners despite the fact that many other entities, including the Delhi Metro, are carrying out construction activities across the national capital, the centre said in the filed affidavit.
From India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Central Vista Project will see construction on Rajpath and the surrounding lawns. According to the government, the project is estimated to cost ₹20,000 crores.
The upcoming plan calls for the construction of a new Parliament House, as well as a new residential complex for the Prime Minister and Vice-President, along with many new office buildings and a Central Secretariat to house Ministry offices.