Public interest over individual property rights, says Delhi HC on PIL against rapid metro project
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday rejected concerns raised by certain residents through a PIL regarding the route alignment of the Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transport System (RRTS), saying that public interest must take precedence over individual property rights.
A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), which now stands disposed of, filed by residents of Siddhartha Extension Resident Welfare Association and Senior Citizens Welfare Forum, who raised concerns about changes in the project’s route alignment.
The project in question is a semi-high-speed rail corridor designed to connect Delhi, Ghaziabad, and Meerut, aiming to reduce air pollution, alleviate traffic congestion, and provide a more efficient transportation system.
The bench noted the project’s significant environmental benefits, including reductions in annual emission rates of particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide, as indicated in the Detailed Project Report.
This project is part of Phase I of the RapidX project managed by the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC).
The petitioners argued that the alteration, which included a viaduct passing through Siddhartha Extension, was arbitrary and detrimental to their well-being and property rights, invoking Article 300A of the Constitution to assert their protected legal rights.
The court noted that the project received government approval in March 2019, with a total cost of approximately Rs 30,270 crore, and that the construction began in June 2019 and has been progressing on schedule. Moreover, the RRTS is expected to contribute significantly to reducing pollution levels and decreasing the number of vehicles on the roads.
The bench said that the NCRTC’s decision to change the initial route was based on valid technical and social considerations, making it non-arbitrary and deeply rooted in technical viability, cost-efficiency, and broader societal benefits.
It stressed that in the balance between individual property rights and overarching public interest, the latter should prevail. The chosen alignment serves the larger community, ensuring efficient use of public resources, it noted.
Furthermore, the court commended the NCRTC’s proactive measures to safeguard the public during construction, showing a conscientious approach to infrastructure development and residents’ concerns.