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“No more tree-cutting in Aarey”, Supreme Court slams Fadnavis government

Yesterday law students from Noida-based college had approached Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, to seek the court’s immediate intervene in Aarey

New Delhi| Slamming the Devendra Fadnavis government, the Supreme Court on Monday put a stay on the cutting of trees in Aarey. The Supreme Court had constituted urgent hearing regarding the felling of trees in north Mumbai’s Aarey colony and held a special sitting. The SC had converted a representation by a group of law students into a Public Interest Litigation.

Justice Mishra one of the judges on special bench said that no more trees to be cut now and status quo be maintained. He further said that felling of trees should be halted for now and added that the survival rate of the saplings should be analysed. Upon this, SG Tushar Mehta representing the Maharashtra government said, “No further cutting is required anymore. We are all concerned about the ecological impact.”

Asking about the activists detained for protesting the tree-felling, Justice Mishra said, “If they have not been released, release them immediately on furnishing personal bond.” The matter will be taken up by the Forest Bench of the Supreme Court on October 21.

Today, Supreme court formed special bench for urgent hearing of the case against the felling of over 2,600 trees in Aarey colony for the construction of a Mumbai Metro car shed, which has been opposed by activists and residents and sparked massive protests in the city. The SC judges are on vacation from October 7 to 12 for the Dussehra celebration.

Also Read: Political blame game starts over BMC order of cutting Aarey trees

In the apex court notice that was posted on Website said a “special bench has been constituted for tomorrows hearing i.e. 7th October 2019 at 10.00 a.m. on the basis of a letter dated 6th October 2019 addressed by Rishav Ranjan with regard to felling of trees in state of Maharashtra which has been registered as a public interest litigation.”

Yesterday law students of a Noida-based college had approached Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, to seek the court’s immediate intervention to stop the felling of trees in Aarey.

On Sunday the letter sent to the CJI by Rishav Ranjan on behalf a student delegation comes two days after the Bombay High Court refused to declare Aarey Colony a forest and declined to quash the Mumbai municipal corporation’s decision to allow felling of over 2,600 trees in the green zone to set up a metro car shed.

The letter quoted that “As we write this letter to you the Mumbai authorities continue to kill the lungs of Mumbai i.e Aarey forest by clearing of trees near Mithi river bank and according to the sources 1,500 trees have already been cleared by the authorities. Not only this but our friends are sent in jail who were peacefully organizing a vigil against the acts of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) with Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) at the site.”

The students requested in the letter to the court to exercise its epistolary jurisdiction for “environmental concerns and protection of Aarey without getting into any technicalities as there was no time for preparation of proper appeal petition”.

On Friday the Bombay High Court had rejected a plea against the axing of trees, and the BMC had soon after started chopping trees down under the cover of darkness. A group of activists who protested against the decision were detained and arrested by the Mumbai police.

SC directs the Maharashtra government not to cut more trees. Government lawyers only 2% given for metro shed. Already 2900 trees are been planted near the metro area.

 

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