‘No More Cutting of Trees Required’: Govt Tells SC in Aarey Case
The legality of the tree felling that has already happened can be decided by the SC in the next hearing, he added.
A special bench, constituted by the Supreme Court on Monday, 7 October, stayed the cutting of trees in Aarey Colony until further orders after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta undertook that no further cutting of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony is required.
“Whatever had to be cut has been cut. No further cutting of trees is required.”Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Government of Maharashtra
The legality of the tree felling that has already happened can be decided by the court in later hearings, he added.
“The Supreme Court, moved by these young law students, has decided to record the Solicitor General's statement that there will be no further cutting of trees in the Aarey forest. Consequent to that, we made a request to the Supreme Court, that there should be no further activities in the garb of clearing or cutting the already cut trees,” senior lawyer Sanjay Hegde told the media.
The matter was heard by the Supreme Court after law students, in collaboration with activists, petitioned for it to intervene.
“We are delighted, we are thankful to the Supreme court of India. This hearing had discussions regarding declaring Aarey as an eco-sensitive zone and its existence as a no developing zone land or a classified forest. There were many records put by the government officials and the government also. The Supreme Court said that it will examine these records and convene the hearing on 21 October,” Rishav Ranjan, law student and petitioner said.
WHAT IS THE AAREY CASE?
The government of Maharashtra had proposed the felling of over 2,600 trees in Aarey Colony to make way for the metro car shed and demanding relocation of the depot, which is part of the Metro III project. The tree-felling began on the night of Friday, 4 October.
The colony, measuring 1,287 hectares, together with the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, is known as a major green lung of Mumbai.
Mumbai Police on Saturday imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in the area near the metro-rail project site as protesters tried to enter the area where trees were being cut.
29 protesters were arrested for ‘disturbing public order’ and ‘obstructing government officials’. They were granted bail on Sunday and the SC on Monday, asked that they be released.
The Supreme Court took suo motu cognisance of the matter after students sent a letter to CJI Ranjan Gogoi asking for his intervention.
The special bench, which has stayed the cutting of trees until further orders, has also asked the Maharashtra government to release all activists arrested in the case and maintain status quo until the next hearing on 21 October.
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.