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Committee to examine viability of housing complex near DU says SC

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New Delhi, June 14: The Supreme Court has directed a committee to examine various aspects including viability of construction of a high-rise housing complex by a private real estate firm adjacent to the Delhi University campus.

Committee to examine viability of housing complex near DU says SC

A bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Indu Malhotra and Aniruddha Bose refused to interfere with the order of NGT restraining the real estate developer from any activity.

Applying the 'Precautionary Principle' of environmental law, the NGT on January 8 had directed Young Builders (P) Ltd in north Delhi that no construction activity should be carried out.

It had also formed a joint committee comprising representatives of the Central Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Environment and Forests and IIT Delhi to evaluate the project.

The builder then challenged the order in the apex court, which set aside the order. Later, the green panel once again restrained the real estate developer from any activity.

The apex court has now directed the committee to examine various aspects including the viability of the project without being influenced by any of the opinions expressed by the NGT.

The top court granted liberty to University of Delhi and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to file their respective representation along with requisite documents before the committee within two weeks.

The committee, before it starts its first deliberation, shall afford an opportunity of preliminary hearing to the appellant, University of Delhi and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, it said.

"The committee shall complete the deliberation and submit its final report within two months from the date of the representation being filed by the appellant and University of Delhi and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. The Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board, shall coordinate and take necessary steps for convening the meeting of the Committee.

"The meeting of the Committee shall be conducted by virtual hearing, or video conferencing, and afford an opportunity of hearing to the representatives of the parties," the bench said.

The apex court further said that after submission of the final report by the committee, the varsity and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation are at liberty to raise all the contentions before the National Green Tribunal.

Senior advocate Shyam Diwan, appearing for the petitioner Young Builders, argued that National Green Tribunal was not justified in constituting a committee.

Senior advocate K V Vishwanathan and advocate Sanjay Upadhyay, appearing for Delhi University, said the builder has obtained a fresh clearance and NGT has rightly constituted the committee to examine the various aspects.

The apex court was hearing an appeal by Young Builders against NGT January 8 order.

The tribunal had passed the order on a plea by Delhi University challenging the environmental clearance granted to a housing project by Young Builders (P) Ltd in North Delhi.

The plea challenged the order of the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority granting Environmental Clearance (EC) for the housing complex located at 1 and 3, Cavalry Lane and 4, Chhatra Marg at Civil Lines here.

It said EC could be granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and not by SEIAA as the project is within 10 km from Critically Polluted Area, notified by CPCB.

DU said the permission sought by Young Builders Private Limited for construction of a group housing society in the University enclave was violative of the Master Plan of Delhi-2021 and was against the larger public interest, "given the fact that the project site in question and its vicinity are within the North Campus of the University and that it contains various historical and archaeological buildings".

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