The Supreme Court today appointed retired judge of the Court, Justice AK Sikri as chairperson of the High Powered Committee (HPC), which would consider the cumulative and independent impact of the Chardham project on the entire Himalayan valley.

A Bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant accepted the resignation of Professor Ravi Chopra as chairperson of the committee after he wrote a letter in January wishing to relinquish his post.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre said that since Justice (retd) Sikri has already been appointed by the Court as chairperson of the oversight committee to look after environmental concerns and other issues related to the Chardham project, it would be better if he is appointed as Chairperson.

The Bench agreed to the suggestion and appointed Justice (retd) Sikri.

Chopra was appointed as chairperson of the HPC by the top court on August 8, 2019.

On December 14, last year, the Supreme Court had allowed double lane widening of the strategic Chardham highway project in Uttarakhand, observing that the country's security concerns may change over time and the recent past has thrown serious national security challenges.

The Court in the exercise of judicial review cannot second guess the infrastructural needs of the armed forces," the top court had said while setting up an oversight committee headed by Justice (retd) Sikri to report to it directly on the ambitious 900-km project, which goes up to the border with China.

With PTI inputs