SC leaves open option of building international airport at Nijgadh – Shova Sharma

The Supreme Court (SC) has left open the option of developing an international airport at Nijgadh.

The extended full bench of SC was divided in its verdict to revoke the government’s decision to build the Nijgadh International Airport but even the three justices in majority have not stopped the prospect of building an airport in Nijgadh.

Justices Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha, Ishwore Prasad Khatiwada and Prakash Man Singh Raut in the majority verdict have asked the government to look for an alternative that is appropriate from technological, environmental and economic perspective but have not explicitly stopped building an airport at Nijgadh, one of the three justices has confided with Setopati.

The extended full bench of SC on May 26 after hearing the writ petitions filed by multiple petitioners had revoked the government’s decision to build the airport, the Forest Ministry’s Environmental Impact Assessment, and the decision to hand over 8,045 hectares of forest area to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

The extended full bench including Justices Hari Krishna Karki, Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha, Ishwore Prasad Khatiwada, Prakash Man Singh Raut and Manoj Kumar Sharma had issued a mandamus to revoke the government’s decision to construct the airport at Nijgadh and asked it to build an international airport finding an appropriate place.

The extended full bench was divided on the case and the majority delivered the verdict of revoking the decision to build the airport with Justices Karki and Sharma dissenting in the verdict.

The dissenting justices have opined that an appropriate place can be found in Nijgadh to build the airport and advised to not deforest a large area.

The SC on February 16, 2020 had sent the cases related to the airport to the extended full bench.

The SC on December 6, 2019 had instructed the government to keep works related to the airport as it is.

A single bench of Justice Tanka Bahadur Moktan hearing the writ petition of former secretary Dwarika Nath Dhungel, advocate Krishna Prasad Bhandari and Prabhu Budhathoki had instructed the government to not move the project forward.

The SC hearing another petition filed by senior advocate Prakash Mani Sharma contending that trees should not be chopped to build the airport had issued an interim order on December 22, 2019 instructing the government to not immediately move the project forward.

The SC then sent both the petitions to the extended full bench.

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