SC allows ‘bhoomi pujan’ but bars construction in Central Vista project

Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday granted permission to the Centre to proceed with the “bhumi pujan” (foundation stone-laying ceremony) of the Central Vista project on 10 December. It, however, also made it clear that the Centre cannot carry out any construction or demolition at the project site till the court pronounces its judgement in the petitions challenging the project.

The top court in its order clarified that the authorities would be free to continue with procedural processes without altering the status of the site(s) in question in any manner, including to continue with the scheduled programme of foundation stone-laying on 10 December. The top court also said: “After interacting with the Solicitor General and when the concern of the Court was expressed, on instructions, the Solicitor General stated that there will be no construction activity of any nature on the concerned site(s) nor demolition of any structure will be done, including the further trans-location of tree(s) will be kept in abeyance, until the pronouncement of judgment in all these cases”.

During the hearing, the court told SG Tushar Mehta: “We have listed this matter because of certain developments we came across in public domain. We never thought you will go ahead so aggressively with construction. The fact that there is no stay does not mean you can go ahead with everything.”

SG Tushar Mehta assured the court that “Centre will not carry out any construction, demolition or translocation of trees at the site of the Central Vista project in the heart of national capital Delhi till the Supreme Court decides on petitions challenging the project”.

On 5 November, the court had reserved orders on a batch of petitions filed by Rajeev Suri, Anuj Srivastava and others which challenged the manner in which the Central Vista project got various clearances.