HC refuses to entertain PIL on functioning of Delhi Tree Authority

The high court has refused to entertain a public interest litigation matter seeking a direction to the Delhi Tree Authority to hold quarterly meetings, noting that another bench is already monitoring the functionality of the authority.

Regarding the petitioner’s prayer to direct the tree authority to provide saplings or plants to every individual to plant those on their property, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna said the suggestion should be considered by the authority, which should also take an appropriate decision.

“This court is of the view that as the single judge is already monitoring the functionality of the Delhi Tree Authority, it would not be appropriate to entertain the present public interest litigation,” the bench said and closed the proceedings in the petition.

The PIL filed by Rahul Bhardwaj had sought a direction to the authorities to perform their duties in a time-bound manner and to the Delhi Tree Authority that it should hold a meeting every three months in terms of the provisions of the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act.

Anupam Srivastava, additional standing counsel of the Delhi government, informed the bench that a single-judge bench of the high court is monitoring the functionality of the Delhi Tree Authority in another matter.

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The division bench perused a July order passed by the single judge and noted that it had specifically taken note of the allegation that though the Delhi Tree Authority should have met 104 times, it has met only eight times.

In the matter before the single judge, one of the counsel had said the tree authority, a statutory body to look after the preservation of all trees in the city as well as their maintenance and well-being, is almost a defunct body.

The member secretary of the tree authority had said there was a lack of infrastructure and secretarial services and that 67 forest guards had finished training and will be absorbed into the system soon.

In July, the single-judge bench directed that the tree authority shall start functioning within four weeks, including appointment of secretarial staff and with any and all necessary infrastructure required.

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