HC to initiate contempt proceedings against tree authority members

This follows failure of the authority to start tree census as mandated by the court

The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday directed the Bengaluru Urban District Tree Authority to submit the names of all its members for initiating contempt proceedings against them for not commencing tree census in the city despite a specific direction given by the court on August 20, 2019 setting a deadline of two weeks to start the process.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar issued the direction during the hearing of a PIL petition that complained of non-implementation of various provisions of the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976.

As R. Gokul, Chairperson of Bengaluru Urban District Tree Authority, who was present in the court, was not able to answer the court’s query as to whether the census would commence by tomorrow, the Bench said there was no option but to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the members of the tree authority as there was “blatant violation” of the specific direction issued six months ago.

Observing that tree census in the city, as mandated by law 44 years ago, was not commenced despite the specific direction of the court, the Bench said though the Commissioner of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has said in his affidavit that the proposed tree census cannot be confined to only of the trees on the sides of the roads, the affidavit still refers to census of only such trees and does not include trees on public and private properties.

Interestingly, a counsel for Institute of Wood Science and Technology orally indicated to the court about withdrawing from the task of conducting the census and to refund the amount received from the BBMP while entering into an agreement for conducting tree census.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 2:00:06 PM |

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