Work on Commonwealth Games Village to continue: apex court

December 15th, 2008 - 10:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) The ongoing construction of the Commonwealth Games Village for the event less than two years away is to continue unhindered for now with the Supreme Court Monday extending its Dec 5 order freezing a Delhi High Court ruling on forming an environmental panel to judge its ecological impact. A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam said that its Dec 5 order would continue to operate.

The order stayed the Delhi High Court’s ruling for forming a panel headed by eminent environmentalist P.K. Pachauri to keep a tab on the ecological effects of the village construction on the Yamuna river bed.

The bench also said it would examine next month whether the committee headed by Pachauri is required to be formed at all.

On Dec 5, the bench suspended the Nov 3 ruling of the Delhi High Court on an urgent lawsuit by the government which apprehended that the high court ruling might not only impair the construction but even jeopardize the 2010 mega event.

On a plea by the government, the bench also stopped the Delhi High Court from conducting any hearing on the matter related to the construction of the Games Village.

Questioning the high court’s step of delivering its verdict a full eight months after its last hearing on a lawsuit opposing the construction, the government contended that “the high court ruling would seriously jeopardise the very conduct and holding of the 2010 games in Delhi.”

Appearing for the government, Solicitor General Goolam E. Vahanvati vehemently questioned the unusual and unconventional manner in which the two judges of the bench delivered their verdicts separately one after another despite hearing the matter together.

Vahanvati said that after the senior judge of the high court’s bench Justice A.K. Sikri delivered his verdict, dismissing a challenge to the plea of stopping the construction, the junior judge Rekha Sharma delivered her own judgement separately.

In her written judgement, she criticised Justice Sikri’s ruling on various grounds and proceeded to issue her own directions, said Vahanvati, adding that Justice Sikri, in turn, added a post script to his own ruling and said that all the directions of Justice Sharma were part of his own judgement as well.

Vahanvati said Justice Sikri categorically dismissed the plea to stop the construction on the grounds that the village was not being built either on the Yamuna bed or its flood zone.

Justice Sikri in his ruling also noted that the government had all the necessary environmental approval from various competent authorities and scientific bodies for the construction, said Vahanvati.

Vahanvati said Justice Sikri, accepting the government’s plea, also approved of formation of a committee headed by Pachauri to keep a general tab on the ongoing construction. He added that Justice Sharma, subsequently, in her ruling wanted the Pachauri panel to examine whether the Games Village was being built on the river bed.

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