“Judges Are Not Available,  If A Bench Is Available, We Will See”:CJI Ramana On Mentioning Of A Plea To Stop Construction Activities In Central Vista Because Of COVID Surge

first_imgTop Stories”Judges Are Not Available,  If A Bench Is Available, We Will See”:CJI Ramana On Mentioning Of A Plea To Stop Construction Activities In Central Vista Because Of COVID Surge Mehal Jain4 May 2021 10:51 PMShare This – xA plea for suspension of all kinds of construction activity in relation to the Central Vista Redevelopment Project in compliance of the orders issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority in wake of the covid 19 surge in the national capital was mentioned before the Supreme Court on Wednesday.It may be noted that the petition, by Anya Malhotra and Sohail Hashmi, was filed before the Delhi High Court yesterday. During the course of hearing before the division bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh, while the bench showed it’s non inclination of issuing notice in the plea, the Bench listed the matter for further hearing on May 17. The petition was vehemently opposed by ASG Chetan Sharma appearing on behalf of the Centre whereas Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra appeared for the petitioner.Before the bench headed by CJI N. V. Ramana, Mr. Luthra on Thursday submitted, “We are not challenging the project. That is settled by Your Lordships’ judgment. We only pray that the back and forth shifting in buses of 150 labourers from Sarai Kale Khan to the construction site stop during the peak of the pandemic. It will wreak havoc on our crumbling health system””If you want to shift somebody, what is the problem? Shift!”, said the bench.”In terms of the DDMA order, all construction in the national capital has been stopped…”, began Mr. Luthra.”Please…please, Mr. Luthra. The High Court is seized of the matter. If we start allowing this, everybody will come to the SC”, said the CJI.When CJ Ramana suggested that the matter be mentioned before the Delhi High Court, Mr, Luthra said, “I did mention it. The ASG concurred with us and agreed to have the matter placed on May 10. But the bench said it needs time to study Your Lordships’ judgment and put the matter to May 17″”These are difficult times. Judges are not available. We have no manpower. I also had an infection…I am not able to read the papers…This is an extraordinary situation. I can’t force all judges to hear matters”, said the CJI.”I was also infected by COVID. Only last night I came out of quarantine”, said Mr. Luthra.”You circulate the papers, if a bench is available, we will see”, assured the CJIThe petition highlights that the construction of the aforesaid project has a “super spreading potential and threat” to the workers who are being exposed to the infection on a daily basis while working and that too without payment.Calling it “relentless, unmindful and reckless act” of the Union of India and Central Public Works Department, the plea states that such an act of carrying on the Project posing threat to the lives of the citizens of Delhi has “the potential of being a super spreader and is in clear breach and violation of the Orders passed by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority.””The construction of the Project cannot be equated to an essential activity. There is no exigency whatsoever in the construction of the Project and there is no reason why the same cannot be suspended at a time when Delhi is facing an unprecedented health crisis. There is no rational basis to differentiate between workers engaged in the construction of the Project and workers engaged in any other construction work. It cannot be stated that the construction work being carried out as a part of the Project is any more essential than the construction of other public services.” The plea states further.The petition seeks the following prayers:-Issue a Writ/Order/Direction in the nature of mandamus and command Respondent No. 1 & 2 to forthwith halt / suspend all construction activity of the Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project awarded to Respondent No. 4 in compliance with Orders issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority during the subsistence of the peak phase of the pandemic.- Issue a Writ/Order/Direction in the nature of mandamus commanding and directing Respondent No. 3 to forthwith withdraw and rescind the Movement Pass dated 19.04.2021.- In the event that this Hon’ble Court is pleased to grant the relief prayed for in Prayer (i) above, issue directions toRespondent No. 1, 2 and 4 to ensure that all workers are paidtheir full wages, notwithstanding suspension work, and to payand release arrears of wages to the workers/laborers engagedin the Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment Project.A plea for suspension of all kinds of construction activity in relation to the Central Vista Redevelopment Project in compliance of the orders issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority in wake of the covid 19 surge in the national capital was mentioned before the Supreme Court on Wednesday.It may be noted that the petition, by Anya Malhotra and Sohail Hashmi, was filed before the Delhi High Court yesterday. During the course of hearing before the division bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh, while the bench showed it’s non inclination of issuing notice in the plea, the Bench listed the matter for further hearing on May 17. The petition was vehemently opposed by ASG Chetan Sharma appearing on behalf of the Centre whereas Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra appeared for the petitioner.The Supreme Court in January this year upheld the Central Government’s plan for construction of the Central Vista project and the government’s proposal to construct a new Parliament in Lutyen’s Delhi.Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna pronounced the judgement, with Justices Khanwilkar and Maheshwari forming the majority, and with Justice Khanna pronouncing a separate judgement.The court had, on November 5, 2020, reserved judgment on these batch of petitions challenging the Rs. 20,000 crore Central Vista project, involving renovation and redevelopment of approximately 86 acres of land in the heart of Lutyens Delhi, marked by structures like the Parliament, Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate, North Block and South Block amongst others.TagsSupreme Court Central Vista Redevelopment Project Covid 19 Delhi Disaster Management Authority Chief Justice N. V. Ramana Next Storylast_img

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