Team Blitz India
The Supreme Court on January 22 stayed the Himachal Pradesh High Court order that had halted the expansion of Gaggal Airport in Kangra district of the state.
Acting on a petition filed by Gaggal Airport Expansion Affected Society Welfare Committee, the high court had on January 9 ordered a status quo till February 29 on all aspects of the airport expansion project, including the relief and rehabilitation process, taking possession of the land notified for acquisition and the demolition of structures on it.
A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud stayed the high court order after senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi submitted on behalf of the Himachal Pradesh Government, Airports Authority of India and the National Highways Authority of India and pointed out that the high court stalled the project despite the Advocate General making a statement that no demolition will take place and no one will be dispossessed.
Rohatgi said that among the three airports in Himachal Pradesh, the one at Kangra was the only one where expansion was possible.
“There is already an airport and this is the expansion plan,” the CJI said when a lawyer representing the respondents tried to impress upon the Bench by saying that the area fell under seismic zone-V.
While issuing notice on the state’s petition, the top court stayed the high court’s order and said the HC can proceed to decide the matter.
The high court had said “there is a possibility that the state government may revisit its own decision to proceed with the expansion of the Gaggal airport after examining all aspects of the matter. In such an event, there is every possibility of time and expenses spent on the hearing on relief and rehabilitation going waste”.