SC seeks NHAI reply on plea for stay of Dwarka Expressway flyover construction


PTI, Aug 23, 2021, 6:19 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday sought response from National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on a plea of two group housing societies and individual residents seeking stay of construction activity of Dwarka Expressway flyover here.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah issued notice to NHAI and other parties and sought their response by Friday after being told that construction activity is going on day and night without mandatory clearances.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioners, said NHAI is building an already constructed small road which passes through densely populated colonies and has six schools on its periphery.

“They did not hold any public consultation, they did not have any environmental clearances and they are felling trees even after the permission granted to do so lapsed,” Bhushan said.

The Delhi High Court has erred in its finding and allowed the construction to go on saying that it was not a new road; hence no new clearances are required, he added.

The bench said it will examine the issue and posted the matter for further hearing after Bhushan said that NHAI is continuing with the work day and night and by the time the court will hear the plea, an irreversible damage will be done.

The high court had on July 30, rejected the plea of residents and housing societies seeking directions to NHAI to place on record all mandatory permissions/ approvals obtained by it for carrying out construction on a residential road, DDA Road No 226 in Sectors 22-23, Dwarka in the national capital.

The residents have also sought restraint on NHAI from going ahead with the construction activity in the interregnum.

The plea filed through advocate Anand Varma said the high court was not correct in accepting NHAI”s “baseless contention” that the expressway is not a new National Highway and is thus exempt from obtaining mandatory prior Environmental Clearance under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006.

The petitioners has sought ex-parte ad-interim orders injuncting/ restraining NHAI from proceeding with any construction activity without placing on record the permissions or approvals obtained for it in respect of the same.

The flyover being constructed will serve as a vital link for those travelling between Gurgaon and Delhi and those going to IGI airport.

The construction of the flyover and the connecting road have been mired in controversy after residents approached the Delhi High Court last year saying that NHAI was illegally constructing the flyover as part of the greenfield project, without even obtaining any permission for felling of trees and without holding any public consultation as required under law.

The plea raised question whether a new interstate national highway, which includes construction of a flyover across a populous residential area, can be developed, without requiring prior mandatory consent orders under the Water Act and the Air Act and without requiring any consultation or a No-Objection Certificate from the adjoining residential societies.

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