SC Opinion on Advocacy Calling for Lack of Public Consultation for Dwarka Overflight
New Delhi: A group of two housing companies and a few individual residents told the Supreme Court on Monday that no public consultation or environmental clearance had been obtained for the construction of the Dwarka Highway flyover in the capital.
The higher court requested a response from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on the residents’ plea asking for the suspension of construction activities.
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioners, argued that the NHAI had not held any public consultation and that it also had no environmental clearance. “And, they cut down trees even after the authorization granted to do so expires,” he submitted.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah sent a notice to the NHAI and other parties in the case and requested their response by Friday.
Bhushan, seeking a speedy hearing on the case, argued that the NHAI continues to work around the clock and that by the time the court hears the plea, irreversible damage will be done.
He added that the NHAI has already built a small road, which passes through densely populated settlements and has six schools on its outskirts. Bhushan argued that the Delhi High Court erred in its conclusion and allowed construction to continue saying it was not a new road, therefore no new permission was required .
On July 30, the High Court refused to hear a plea from residents and housing corporations asking for instructions from the NHAI to record all required permits for the construction of a residential road, DDA Road No 226 in sectors 22 -23, Dwarka.
The plea, filed through attorney Anand Varma, said the High Court erred in accepting NHAI’s “baseless claim” that the highway is not a new national highway. The NHAI insisted that, since this is not a new highway, it is therefore exempt from obtaining a mandatory prior environmental authorization under the environmental impact assessment notification. (EIA), 2006.
The resident had moved the High Court against the construction of the flyover and the connecting road, claiming that the NHAI illegally constructed the flyover as part of the greenfield project. They sought instructions to prevent him from continuing the construction activity in the interregnum.