New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday (May 7) asked the petitioners opposing the ongoing construction work for the Central Vista to approach the Delhi High Court again for a speedy hearing.
A bench comprising Justices Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari said that the COVID situation in the country was grim and that they do not want to make any comment that may be misinterpreted.
"When we are sitting in closed rooms with face masks, itself shows the situation is grim. We would not like to make any further comments on the COVID situation as other benches are seized of the matter, otherwise, our remarks may be misinterpreted," Justice Vineet Saran was quoted as saying by PTI.
“We are of the opinion that since the matter is pending before the High Court and the order challenged in the special leave petition is only of adjournment, we are not inclined to go into the merit of the case,” the court observed.
Senior advocate Siddarth Luthra had filed a plea asking the apex court to direct Delhi HC to hear the PIL against the Central Vista construction. On May 4, the high court had adjourned that matter for 13 days, saying it needed time to study the Supreme Court judgement of January 5 which allowed the Central Vista project.
The SC today asked Luthra to take the matter before the high court for urgent listing on May 10.
Luthra argued that Central Vista construction should not be considered as an essential activity amidst the pandemic.
“Labours are being transported from Sarai Kale Khan and Karol Bagh area to Raj Path and Central Vista, where construction work is going on. This enhances chances of spread of COVID infection among them,” Luthra said.
He referred to the letter written by Central Public Works Department (CPWD) to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) for continuation of construction work in Central Vista project on the ground that it is time bound work.
“The permission was granted on the ground that it was essential activity. How is construction work an essential activity? In a health emergency, we cannot risk the lives of workers and their families and put more pressure on health care system,” Luthra said.
He further argued that when the nation is considering lockdown and even Indian Premier League is being shut, the construction activity cannot be allowed.