Justice Najmi Waziri appointed Chairman of Committee on deemed forests in Delhi

The Delhi High Court has appointed Justice Najmi Waziri, a former judge of the court, as the Chairman of the Internal Departmental Committee dedicated to the protection and management of deemed forests within the national capital.

This decision comes as part of the court’s efforts to preserve these vital ecological areas.

Justice Jasmeet Singh has directed the Delhi government to ensure that Justice Waziri is provided with all necessary facilities and secretarial support to facilitate the Committee’s work.

The court has empowered Justice Waziri to determine his own honorarium and the resources required for the Committee to function effectively.

This court expects cooperation from the heads of various governmental departments with the Committee, which has been granted the liberty to submit regular reports to the court regarding its progress.

The court’s decision was influenced by a plea concerning the preservation of deemed forests in Delhi, with Amicus Curiae, Advocate Gautam Narayan, noting the importance of having a retired High Court Judge lead the initiative for greater efficacy.

Despite the commitment towards safeguarding forests and deemed forests from encroachment and deforestation, the court observed that land-owning departments had not shown sufficient seriousness in gathering or providing necessary documentation and records to assist the Committee’s efforts.

The appointment of Justice Waziri aims to ensure better cooperation and commitment from these departments.

Previously, the court had requested a status report from the Delhi government and other civic bodies on the current state of deemed forests in Delhi and actions taken to curb their depletion.

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The plea, filed by Neeraj Sharma, seeks concrete measures from the Delhi government and its forest department to demarcate all deemed forest areas, as identified in a 1997 affidavit by the then Conservator of Forests to the Supreme Court.

It also calls for the implementation of signage for the protection and preservation of these areas, alongside guidelines for disciplinary actions against officials failing to prevent violations of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.

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