Central Vista project | Government entitled to commit errors, says Supreme Court

Court cannot intervene as long as constitutional principles are followed, says majority order

January 05, 2021 11:15 pm | Updated 11:42 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Behind the scenes:  The Central Vista project site covers a 3 km-stretch from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.

Behind the scenes: The Central Vista project site covers a 3 km-stretch from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to treat the Central Vista project as a unique one requiring greater or “heightened” judicial review.

A majority view of the Supreme Court said the government is “entitled to commit errors or achieve successes” in policy matters without the court’s interference as long as it follows constitutional principles.

“Government may examine advantages or disadvantages of a policy at its own end, it may or may not achieve the desired objective. It is not the court’s concern to enquire into the priorities of an elected government. Judicial review is never meant to venture into the mind of the government and thereby examine validity of a decision,” the majority opinion by Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari said.

The majority judgment said there is absolutely no legal basis to “heighten” the judicial review by applying yardstick beyond the statutory scheme, especially when the government itself had accorded no special status to the project.

Also read: Central Vista project | Housing Minister welcomes Supreme Court order

The court said the government had gone through the ordinary route of development projects as per law in the Central Vista proposal too.

It is up to government policy to decide whether or not to accord a unique or sui generis status to a project.

“Once the government decides to construct a new space for its sitting or to construct a highway or water dam or school or university and follows the procedure prescribed under law commensurate with the nature of project, then the court cannot act as a multiplier of regulations and add its own notion as to what ought to be additional essential procedure for going ahead with a particular project,” the majority decision said.

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