October 07, 2019

Supreme Court Restrains Any More Tree Cutting At Mumbai Aarey Area; Directs Release Of Arrested Activists, Protestors

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


The Supreme Court has restrained the state of Maharashtra from cutting any more trees in Mumbai's Aarey area in order to set up a metro railway car shed.

The court has set October 21 as the next date of hearing in the case and also asked the Union Environment Ministry to be made a party to the case.

The court directed the release of all protestors and activists arrested after furnishing of personal bonds, after which the Maharashtra government told the court that all those arrested for protesting against cutting of trees at Aarey have been released.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Maharashtra government, submitted that he was not aware of all records and assured the bench that nothing will be cut in Aarey till the case is decided.

The PIL petitioners told the bench that Aarey forest was deemed as an “unclassified forest” by the Maharashtra state government and felling of trees was illegal.

However, after going through the notification issued by the Maharashtra government, the Supreme Court said that the Aarey area is a no-development zone and not an eco-sensitive zone as claimed by the petitioner.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had decided to register a letter addressed to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi by law student Rishav Ranjan seeking a stay on cutting of trees, as a public interest litigation (PIL).

On October 4, the Bombay High Court had refused to declare Aarey Colony as a forest and refused 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 railway car shed.

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