Supreme Court to Gujarat High Court: Examine Sabarmati plea [2.4.2022]

Setback For Gujarat In Supreme Court On Sabarmati Ashram Revamp Plan

The court set aside the high court verdict dismissing Tushar Gandhi's plea against the plan which he contended will corrupt the Ashram's simplicity

New Delhi : 1st April, 2022 

The Supreme Court today asked the Gujarat High Court to hear afresh Mahatma Gandhi's great grandson's plea against the state government's plan to redevelop Sabarmati Ashram.

The court has set aside the high court's November 21 verdict dismissing Tushar Gandhi's plea against the plan which he contended will corrupt the pristine simplicity of the Ashram.

The development comes as a setback for the Bhupendra Patel-led BJP government in the state which has chalked out a ? 1,200-crore Gandhi Ashram Memorial and Precinct Development Project.

The bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant said, "We are of the view it would have been appropriate for the HC to decide on these issues after furnishing an opportunity to Gujarat government to file a comprehensive affidavit on the matter addressing the various facets."

The Supreme Court, however, clarified that it has not gone into the merits of the case. "We clarify that this Court has not entered into the merits of the issues that were raised by the petitioners or the legal correctness of the matter," it said, while allowing the petitioner and Gujarat government to request the High Court for speedy disposal of the issue.

Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, representing Tushar Gandhi, said at the end of the hearing, "I have worn a khadi saree especially for today."

The Gujarat government was represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

In his petition against the redevelopment plan, Mr Gandhi has contended that it will change the physical structure of Sabarmati Ashram and corrupt its pristine simplicity that embodies the ideology of Gandhiji. He has argued that with the "nature of redevelopment and the oversized involvement of the government authorities in the conception and execution of the project, the ashram may lose the Gandhian ethos".

03 Apr 2022