The Supreme Court allowed the Defence Ministry’s appeal to widen the Char Dham highway to fulfil national security objectives on Tuesday, despite escalating tensions with China near the Line of Actual Control. It also established an oversight body that would directly report to the Court.
The application, filed by the Defence Ministry, was granted by a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and Vikram Nath. The apex court had ordered the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to follow its 2018 circular on the width of roads in hilly terrain in the execution of the Char Dham road project on September 8, 2020. For highways, the 2018 rules call for a 5.5-metre wide tarred road.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) argued that the specified width was insufficient to address security issues and allow for the mobility of strategic weaponry such as Brahmos missile regiments, and requested that the Court increase it to 10 metres.