No permission be granted to fell trees for construction of houses in Delhi, says HC

Delhi High Court on Thursday directed that the authorities in the national capital will not grant permission to fell trees for the construction of houses.

The high court also said that its order dated August 31, when the Delhi government had stated that no permission to fell trees for any individuals would be granted and any permission required for important projects would be intimated to the court till the next date of hearing, shall continue.

Justice Jasmeet Singh granted two weeks’ time to Anupam Srivastava, the Delhi government’s additional standing counsel, to file a detailed report on the status of transplanted and replanted trees in the city.

The court sought to know whether the process of transplantation or replantation was successful.

“In the meantime, the directions contained in the August 31 order shall continue. No permission shall be granted for felling of trees in respect of construction of houses,” Justice Singh said and listed the matter for further hearing on October 6.

The high court was hearing a petition seeking contempt action against the officers who, despite clear directions of the court in an April 2022 order that required them to “spell out the reasons for felling of even a single tree”, were not complying with it.

Petitioner Bhavreen Khandari’s lawyer Aditya N Prasad had filed an application seeking early hearing of the contempt plea, stating that despite the April 2022 order, the authorities were “recklessly granting permission for felling of trees”.

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The high court, after perusing the permissions granted by the officers for felling trees in the city, said on August 31 that “a perusal of the permissions granted by the respondent for felling of trees seems to suggest that there is total non-application of mind while granting permissions. Some of the permissions show that trees have been permitted to be cut for individuals requiring parking spaces for their vehicles”.

The petitioner’s counsel had earlier submitted that he had come across 57 orders issued by the tree officers in which felling/transplantation permissions had been granted simply because the trees were falling in the alignment of proposed construction projects.

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