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betfair complaints,conan gray,rummy heroine,Delhi HC’s refusal to stop Central Vista work challenged in Supreme Court

The high court order of May 31 held that the project cannot be stopped as it is of national importance and must be completed by November 30 this year
By Abraham Thomas
PUBLISHED ON JUN 10, 2021 07:14 PM IST

An appeal has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi high court’s refusal to stop the construction of the Central Vista Redevelopment Project during the pandemic.

The high court order of May 31 held that the project cannot be stopped as it is of national importance and must be completed by November 30 this year. The petitioners were also penalised 1 lakh for filing a “motivated” petition and told to deposit the amount with the Delhi Legal Services Authority within a month.

Reacting to the high court’s observations, the two petitioners Anya Malhotra and Sohail Hashmi said, “The judgment, especially the imposition of exorbitant costs, has a chilling effect on public spirited individuals raising genuine issues of public health and on the right of citizens to question the actions of the government and to hold it to account, which it is submitted is the bedrock of democracy.”

Malhotra is a translator working for high ranking foreign and Indian diplomatic delegations while Hashmi is a renowned historian and documentary maker. Their appeal stated, “The impugned judgment apart from misconstruing the bonafide intention of the petitioners, without cause cast them in a negative light at the cost of their right to reputation.”

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The petitioners clarified that their only aim was to raise a public health and safety issue after coming to know that the construction work on the Central Vista Redevelopment Project site was going on at a time when Covid-19’s “catastrophic second wave” was ravaging the city of Delhi. On May 3, when the petition was filed, the positivity rate in Delhi averaged 29.74% and the mean number of deaths was 353 per day.

“Since it (construction work) had the potential of being a super spreader activity, on account of the movement of the workers from the site to their accommodations at Sarai Kale Khan, Karol Bagh, Kalkaji, Nizamuddin etc., it was posing a grave risk to the health and safety of the workers and the residents of Delhi,” the petition said.

The petitioners claimed that the work of the Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project was not an “essential activity” and should be suspended for the time being.

The Centre told the high court that on April 19, permission was obtained from the police to ferry nearly 400 workers to the construction site. After May 1, before the petition came to be filed, on-site accommodation was provided to workers, the Centre submitted.

The high court bench of chief justice DN Patel and justice Jyoti Singh held, “Once the workers are staying at the site and all facilities have been provided, Covid-19 protocols are adhered to and Covid-19 appropriate behaviour is being followed, there is no reason for this court while exercising powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to stop the project.”

It noted, “The construction of Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project cannot be seen in isolation. In fact, the whole Central Vista Project is an essential project of national importance, where the sovereign functions of Parliament are also to be conducted. Public is vitally interested in this project.”

The petitioners, in their appeal filed through advocate Nitin Saluja, told the Supreme Court, “At a time when the city of Delhi was facing the fury of the raging pandemic, safeguarding the lives and the health of individuals ought to, and should have been prioritised over meeting a contractual deadline for a project.”

Moreover, the appeal claimed that even if on-site accommodation was provided to workers after May 1, the work carried out till then at the site was in clear violation of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority’s order allowing work only at sites providing on-site accommodation.

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