Majority Order by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar & Justice Dinesh Maheshwari
(i) In conclusion, we declare and direct as follows:
(i) We hold that there is no infirmity in the grant of:
(a) “No Objection” by the Central Vista Committee (CVC);
(b) “Approval” by the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) as per the DUAC Act, 1973; and
(c) “Prior approval” by the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) under clause 1.12 of the Building Byelaws for Delhi, 2016.
(ii) We further hold that the exercise of power by the Central Government under Section 11A(2) of the DDA Act, 1957 is just and proper and thus the modifications regarding change in land use of plot Nos. 2 to 8 in the Master Plan of Delhi, 2021/Zonal Development Plan for Zone-D and Zone-C vide impugned notification dated 20.3.2020 stands confirmed.
(iii) The recommendation of Environmental Clearance (EC) by Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) and grant thereof by MoEF is just, proper and in accordance with law including the 2006 Notification. We uphold the same along with appropriate directions therein to ensure that the highlighted mitigating measures are followed by the project proponent in their letter and spirit.
(iv) The project proponent may set up smog tower(s) of adequate capacity, as being integral part of the new Parliament building project; and additionally, use smog guns at the construction site throughout the construction phase is in progress on the site.
(v) We also call upon the respondent MoEF to consider issuing similar general directions regarding installation of adequate capacity of smog tower(s) as integral part in all future major development projects whilst granting development permissions, particularly in cities with bad track record of air quality – be it relating to Government buildings, townships or other private projects of similar scale and magnitude, including to use smog guns during the construction activity of the Project is in progress.
(vi) The stage of prior permission under clause 1.3 of the Building Bye Laws of the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC), is the stage of actual development/redevelopment etc. work is to commence and not the incipient stage of planning and formalisation of the Project. Accordingly, the respondents shall obtain aforementioned prior permission of the designated Authority before actually starting any development/redevelopment work on the stated plots/structures/precincts governed by the heritage laws including on plot No. 118, if already not obtained.
(vii) The selection/appointment of Consultant, in light of the limited examination warranted in this case, is held to be just and proper.
Order by Justice Sanjiv Khanna
In view of the aforesaid discussion, while setting aside and quashing the final notification of modification/change of the land use dated 28th March 2020 in respect of the 6 plots in the Central Vista, we would direct as under:
A) The Central Government/Authority would put on public domain on the web, intelligible and adequate information along with drawings, layout plans, with explanatory memorandum, etc. within a period of 7 days.
B) Public Advertisement on the website of the Authority and the Central Government along with appropriate publication in the print media would be made within 7 days.
C) Anyone desirous of filing suggestions/objections may do so within 4 weeks from the date of publication. Objections/ suggestions can be sent by email or to the postal address which would be indicated/mentioned in the public notice.
D) The public notice would also notify the date, time, and place when public hearing, which would be given by the Heritage Conservation Committee to the persons desirous of appearing before the said Committee. No adjournment or request for postponement would be entertained. However, the Heritage Conservation Committee may if required fix additional dates for a hearing.
E) Objections/suggestions received by the Authority along with the records of BoEH and other records would be sent to the Heritage Conservation Committee. These objections etc. would also be taken into consideration while deciding the question of approval/permission.
F) Heritage Conservation Committee would decide all contentions in accordance with the Unified Building Bye-Laws and the Master Plan of Delhi.
G) Heritage Conservation Committee would be at liberty to also undertake the public participation exercise if it feels appropriate and necessary in terms of paragraph 1.3 or other paragraphs of the Unified Building Bye-Laws for consultation, hearing, etc. It would also examine the dispute regarding the boundaries of the Central Vista Precincts at Rajpath.
H) The report of the Heritage Conservation Committee would be then along with the records sent to the Central Government, which would then pass an order in accordance with the law and in terms of Section 11A of the Development Act and applicable Development Rules, read with the Unified Building Bye-laws.
I) Heritage Conservation Committee would also simultaneously examine the issue of grant of prior permission/approval in respect of building/permit of the new parliament on Plot No. 118. However, its final decision or outcome will be communicated to the local body viz., NDMC, after and only if, the modifications in the master plan were notified.
J) Heritage Conservation Committee would pass a speaking order setting out reasons for the conclusions.
We set aside the order of the EAC dated 22nd April 2020 and the environment clearance by the Ministry of Environment and Forest dated 17th June 2020, and would pass an order of remit to the EAC with a request that they may decide the question on environment clearance within a period of 30 days from the date copy of this order received, without awaiting the decision on the question of change/modification of land use. Speaking and reasoned order would be passed.
Parties, if aggrieved by any order/approval/non-approval would be entitled to challenge the same in accordance with the law.
In the facts of the case, there would be no order as to costs.