Central Vista: plea in SC challenges HC’s dismissal of petition

Workers brought in daily from outside when curbs were in place on public movement to halt spread of virus, it says

A Supreme Court lawyer on Wednesday appealed to the apex court against a Delhi High Court judgment dismissing a plea to stop construction activity at the Central Vista area in the capital amidst a surge in the pandemic.

Advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav said the High Court erred in concluding that the workers stayed at the site whereas they were brought in daily from outside at a time when restrictions were in place on public movement to halt the spread of the virus, which has claimed thousands of lives.

“The High Court failed to appreciate that allowing a big construction work with a huge number of innocent laborers workers to continue during peak COVID-19 Pandemic period is a serious public health issue concern,” Mr. Yadav’s petition said.

The special leave petition was not justified in holding that the Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment project was an essential activity during the peak pandemic crisis

“The High Court was not justified in holding that the workers of Central Vista Avenue Redevelopment project was residing at the site… government and SPCPL in their respective affidavits have clearly stated that the workers of the project were staying at the Sarai Kale Khan camp which is not project site… Movement pass was issued to labourers and supervisors to construction site,” the petition said.

The Delhi High Court had found no reason to suspend the construction activities as the workers were staying at the project site. It concluded that “COVID-19 protocols are adhered to and COVID-19 appropriate behaviour is being followed”. It imposed ₹1 lakh costs on the petitioners, Anya Malhotra and Sohail Hashmi, for filing a “motivated petition”.

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