New Delhi, May 31: The Delhi High Court on Monday declined to stay the ongoing construction activities in connection with the Central Vista redevelopment project in the backdrop of recent surge in Covid cases.
A bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said: "It is an essential project of national importance. Public is vitally interested in the project."
The court also imposed Rs one lakh cost on the petitioners, observing that the petition is not a genuine public interest litigation but a "motivated" one.
The court noted that the construction has to be completed on time. "Once workers are staying at site and all facilities are provided and COVID-19 behaviour is adhered to, there is no reason to stop the project", said the court.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, had alleged that the plea was a "facade" to stall the work. Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Pvt Ltd, which has been awarded tender, also opposed the PIL, stating that it lacks bona fide, and the construction firm was taking care of its workforce.
Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, representing the petitioners, had submitted that the petitioners were only interested in the safety of the workers at the site and compared the project to "Auschwitz", a German concentration camp during World War II.
The petitioners, Anya Malhotra and Sohail Hashmi, had sought a stay on the construction activities of Central Vista in the backdrop of COVID-19 situation in the capital and the threat posed by the construction activities as a potential super spreader.
The Supreme Court on January 5, had already given the green signal to the project, as it declined to entertain petitions alleging violation of land use and environmental norms for the project.