Preserving Pratap Vilas: CJ cites Allahabad HC order, AG cites SC’s Central Vista verdict3 min read

BY-TANYA KHARE

On Thursday Gujrat High court  Chief Justice Vikram Nath recollected an Allahabad HC judgement in 1990s which struck down a Government order on construction inside a park, which is the “Heart and Lungs” of Allahabad.

The High Court was hearing arguments on preservation of Pratap Vilas Palace in Vadodara that houses the National Academy of Indian Railways during which the advocate general Trivedi cited the January verdict of the SC greenlighting Central Vista redevelopment project.

“In Allahabad, there was this Alfred Park  huge area with a circumference of three kilometers, with a central library and two-three heritage constructions ( including Pratap Vilas ). The government decided to construct government offices at one end of the park. The Allahabad HC struck down that notification and all constructions were demolished and that is the heart and lung of Allahabad city. Baroda also needs to protect its heart and lungs,” the Chief Justice said.

The judgement given by CJ Vikram Nath was referring to the case of Arun Kumar v. Nagar Mahapalika, Allahabad and others which was passed in April 1987. In this case(Arun Kumar v. Nagar Mahapalika, Allahabad and others) Justice Dhawan held that the existence of institution or their building inside the park can not be justified . he also said that the prime purpose of the park should not be forgotten.

While referring to this case CJ Nath also said that Advocate general Trivedi will have a difficult time in answering such judgement.

Trivedi responded saying, “Now we have Central Vista ,judgment of SC, All those arguments that may arise from the Allahabad High Court  judgment of Chief Justice Ravi Dhawan have been taken care of.”

CJ Nath countered Trivedi statement by saying that this(Central Vista) judgement has nothing to do with the lung of the city and they are only about removing the South block and North Block .Central Vista is about Concrete V. Concrete.

The High Court granted relief to the petitioners by statying any further construction on the building.

Advocate Trivedi has also submitted that this property is a gated property not open to tourists. He also submitted that the said property and the woods surrounding the Pratap Vilas palace are not recognized as forest under forest Conservation Act and therefore provision of the Environment Protection Act are not applicable.

On this Advocate Salil Thakore, representing the petitioners said that the change in distance is merely cosmetic as the railway institute will always be infront of the Pratap Vilas palace and thus it will lead to deforestation.

On this CJ Vikram Nath said that we cannot have a rule that no tree can be cut. If this decision is taken then there will be no development and  then we can’t build roads, we can’t build buildings, we can’t have airports, terminals etc . If the Government are cutting 300 or 400 trees then there are guidelines that say that they have to plant 10 times more trees.

He also said that the trees surrounding the Pratap Vilas palace are the lungs of Vadodara.

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