There must be no construction or demolition for the central vista project after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches it on Thursday, the Supreme Court said today, rebuking the government for “moving forward aggressively” on the project even before a decision on petitions challenging it.
As the government agreed to its condition, the Supreme Court said the “authorities are free to undertake formal process without altering site in question in any manner”.
“You can lay the foundation stone, you can carry on paperwork but no construction or demolition, no cutting down any trees,” the Supreme Court told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
PM Modi is to lay the foundation stone for a new parliament building to be built at nearly Rs 1,000 crore as part of the central vista project, it was announced on Saturday.
“We expected that you will continue with paperwork etc but not move forward so aggressively that you will start construction,” the Supreme Court said to the Solicitor General.
“Just because there is no stay that does not mean you can start construction. We did not pass any clear stay order because we thought you are prudent litigant, and you will show deference to the court. The news items in public domain show you are starting construction,” said the judges.
When Mr Mehta sought time to respond to the court’s order that no construction or demolition could continue, the court said sternly: “Respond in five minutes or we will pass this order.”
He told the court: “There will be no construction, demolition or felling of trees. Only foundation stone will be laid.”
As the judges passed the order, they said: “This matter was listed in view of certain developments. The Solicitor General states that there will be no construction activity of any nature on the concerned sites, nor any demolition, including further translocation of trees until pronouncement of judgment in all the cases.”