New Delhi, Jul 31: The Supreme Court Thursday ruled that the Commonwealth Games village, meant to accommodate over 8,000 athletes from 71 countries, is not being built on the Yamuna riverbed or floodplain.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan gave the verdict, dismissing a Delhi High Court judgement of November 2008 and removing all uncertainties over the ongoing construction of the Games village.
"The observation and the conclusion of the Delhi High Court that the site in question is on a riverbed cannot be sustained. The high court disregarded and ignored material scientific literature and the opinion of experts and scientific bodies, which have categorically held that the Commonwealth Games Village site is not on a riverbed or the floodplain," said the bench.
The bench, which also included Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan, added: "Further in view of the change in the land use, which was approved way back in 1997 by the Yamuna Committee and the NEERI permitting the Delhi Development Authority to use the land for the public and semi-public purposes, the contrary conclusion of the high court is liable to be set aside."
The bench set aside all roadblocks to the development of the Commonwealth Games Village on a joint lawsuit by the central government and the Delhi Development Authority, challenging the Delhi High Court ruling which, however, had not halted the construction but ordered formation of a panel headed by Nobel laureate R.K. Pauchari to monitor the ecological and environmental impact of the construction.
While giving an unfettered go ahead to the construction of the games village, the bench also accepted the central government's contention that the apex court itself had approved in January 2005 the construction of Akshardham temple on a site adjacent to the games village site.
"Inasmuch as the Akshardham Temple site is adjacent to the Commonwealth Games Village site, the decision of this court on Akshardham temple has been bearing on the issue and it is a binding precedent on all purpose," the bench said.
The apex court also junked the high court's direction for forming a fresh committee to examine the ecological impact of the construction of tracks for Delhi Metro.
The bench, however, allowed the panel headed by Pachauri to keep a general tab on ecological compatibility of the construction in association with various government departments.