Petition in HC against order to cut trees at Aarey colony

Voicing concern:  People at a protest against the approval of the Tree Authority to uproot trees at Aarey.

Voicing concern: People at a protest against the approval of the Tree Authority to uproot trees at Aarey.

A 44-year-old local resident filed a petition in the Bombay High Court on Tuesday challenging a resolution passed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s Tree Authority on August 29 to cut 2,646 trees at Aarey colony to make way for a Metro car shed.

Zoru Bhathena said the Tree Authority’s order breached the judgement passed by another Bench of the HC. The plea said the Tree Authority has been set up to protect and preserve the trees of Mumbai and not to illegally sanction their destruction.

The petition said, “The Tree Authority has been constituted under the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act. On June 30, it called for suggestions and objections from members of the public on a proposal by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation seeking removal of 2,702 trees (2,238 trees are proposed to be cut and 464 trees proposed to be transplanted).”

The plea said, “The letter written by Mr. Bhathena with objections to the Tree Authority on July 8 raised 14 points. On July 8, the tree officer conducted a public hearing, where approximately 500 citizens once again raised their objections.”

On August 29, the Tree Authority cleared a proposal to remove 2,646 trees (2,185 are to be cut and 461 are to be transplanted) at Aarey, which is a reduction of 56 trees from the original proposal.

Mr. Bhathena wanted to know why the resolution passed by the Tree Authority did not contain reasons for overruling his objections. “The resolution was passed without receiving written inputs from all experts; it was passed without discussing the inputs given by the experts; it failed to record reasons as to why it differed with the expert’s inputs; and it failed to refer to the scientific inputs rendering these inputs meaningless,” he alleged.

He claimed “the resolution was passed in haste due to the impending Assembly elections and suffers from non-application of mind”, and wanted the HC to quash it.

The matter will be heard by a Division Bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre on Wednesday.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2022 10:02:12 pm |