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"... in larger public interest, we deem it appropriate that the entire matter pertaining to challenge pending before the High Court is heard and decided by this court", the Supreme Court said.
The Supreme Court on Friday transferred the case concerning the re-development of New Delhi's Central Vista area from the Delhi High Court to itself (Rajeev Suri v. Union of India).
Aggrieved by the Division Bench order, and apprehending that the DDA may notify the proposed land-use changes, a plea was filed for the stay of the Division Bench order before the Supreme Court. The plea was filed by Rajeev Suri, one of the original petitioners in the matter before the High Court.
The Supreme Court Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari on Friday took a call to transfer the case itself to the top Court in public interest, observing that,
"In our opinion, it is just and proper that writ petition itself is heard by this Court instead of examining the grievance about the manner in which the interim directions have been passed and then vacated by the High Court. Indeed, this order is not a reflection on the proceedings before the High Court, in any manner, but in larger public interest, we deem it appropriate that the entire matter pertaining to challenge pending before the High Court is heard and decided by this court expeditiously."
There were two petitions before the High Court in the Central Vista re-development controversy.
While one petition (Rajeev Suri v. DDA & Ors.) assailed the Public Notice inviting objections against the change of land use of several plots of land in Central Vista, the other petition (LT. COL Anuj Srivastava (Retd.) and Ors v. DDA & Ors.) challenged the public hearing which was held subsequently.
It was contended that the notice inviting comments/objections for the change of land use of several plots of land in Central Vista was not in conformity with the Master Plan Delhi 2021 as well as other relevant laws.
Concerns of “ill-conceived land use changes” were also raised.
The other petition had asserted that the public hearing was conducted in a mechanical manner which demonstrated complete non-application of mind.
In the appeal filed before the High Court, the Central Government had contended that the contentions of environmental damage, public space etc were misconceived.
The Centre also contended that the proposed changes do not effect the character of the plan or land uses or the standards of population density or the Heritage Building. It is asserted that the changes proposed fall within the DDA's right to modify the Master Plan for Delhi -2021 and Zonal Development Plan under Section 11A(1) of the Delhi Development Act, 1957.
The Supreme Court will now hear the matter. It has been posted to be taken up next on March 18.
[Read the Order]
[Read the SLP against the Delhi HC Division Bench order]