The Madras High Court Bench at Madurai has restrained the management of the Saraswathi Narayanan college in this city from felling trees where 5000 bats and numerous birds were nesting.

Admitting a PIL filed by Tamil Nadu Science forum that the college had already felled 25 trees, a Division Bench, comprising Justices D. Murugesan and M. Duraiswamy directed the District Forest officer to inspect the college and submit a report on Aug18 with regard to number of trees felled. The DFO should also provide account of number of trees left untouched.

The Petitioner, S.Krishnaswamy, president of the forum, said number of spontaneous trees including Banyan and neem trees, which provided a good environment for college staff and students, had been felled. The trees also served as sanctuary for different species of birds and bats. The college secretary allowed some timber merchants to inspect the trees and allowed them to cut them on August. Timber worth Rs.10 lakh had been felled without permission of the forest department.

An assistant professor, who objected to the illegal felling was assaulted by a laboratory assistant, it was alleged. The Petitioner also said that a large number of students had gathered at the office and requested the management not to cut the trees.

Private colleges cannot transfer its properties without obtaining permission from the government as per Tamilnadu Private Colleges Regulation Act, it was contended.

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