HC directs plantation of 10k trees across Delhi, money recovered from defaulting litigants to be utilised

 Trees serve as “carbon sump” by absorbing pollution which plagues the city all year round, the Delhi High Court has observed while directing plantation of 10,000 trees across the national capital by utilising over Rs 70 lakh deposited by defaulting litigants as costs in several matters.

Justice Najmi Waziri, who said such monies that are deposited in court are to be utilised for the larger public good, appointed four lawyers as court commissioners to identify the sites for the drive, preferably public roads.

The judge observed that trees would incessantly and silently provide multiple benefits to the city and generations of its residents for as long as they are alive as not only would they “serve as carbon sump” to absorb pollution which “plagues the city all year round” but also lend beauty and grace.

“Over Rs 70 lakh are to be transferred into the bank account of the Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF), GNCTD… Let the said monies be utilised by the DCF, with the assistance of PWD, GNCTD to plant trees in such areas as may be identified by Shadan Farasat, Avishkar Singhvi, Tushar Sannu, Aditya N Prasad. They shall each have at least 2,500 trees planted. They are hereby appointed as Court Commissioners,” said the court in a recent order.

“Each tree shall have a minimum of three-years’ nursery age and a minimum trunk height of 10 feet. From the Rs 70 lakh at least 10,000 trees shall be planted. Let it be so done…The sites for plantation, preferably public roads, shall be identified by the learned court commissioners,” the court ordered.

Depending upon the soil type and topography, the court added, the DCF may consider planting pilkhan, papdi, kachnaar, goolar, kala siris/safed siris, jamun, amaltas, kadamb and badh trees.

The court clarified that the land-owning agency shall plant them under the supervision of the Tree Officer/DCF and file their report.

In case of any attrition of the trees or any damage, the land-owning agency shall promptly remedy the situation with the advice of the Tree Officer and keep the court commissioners informed with photographs, it further said.

“About Rs 80 lakh was deposited in the court as costs that were imposed on defaulting litigants in scores of contempt petitions and writ petitions, etc. These monies are to be utilised for larger public good,” the court said.

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“Plantation of trees is one such exercise which the court would consider because trees, for as long as they are alive, be it for decades or for centuries, would incessantly and silently provide multiple benefits to the city; provided however, that people and the landowning agencies do not interfere in or hinder their growth. The benefit that trees would provide to generations of residents of Delhi, by way of fresh oxygen would be immeasurable,” it added.

The court asked the police here to assist the DCF as well as the court commissioners in the plantation exercise.

It also said that community participation in the plantation and maintenance of the trees should be encouraged and sought a status report on the drive from the DCF every six months.

The matter would be heard next on July 7.

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