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  • Writer's pictureAsianet News

No pruning of trees will be permitted in Delhi: HC

The Delhi High Court's ruling stems from a petition submitted by a professor and doctor, highlighting that a total of 800 trees in Vasant Vihar locality of South Delhi were subjected to pruning.

Night view of delhi depicting a case represented by AnantLaw covered in national news by AsiaNew News

This news report was authored and published by Asianet News on 14 June 2023. The article talks about a case represented by AnantLaw.

The Delhi High Court recently ruled no pruning of trees will be permitted in Delhi except in accordance with the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994. The court also set aside the guidelines permitting regular pruning of branches of trees with a girth up to 15.7 cm without specific prior permission of the Tree Officer. 

The court verdict came in response to a petition filed by Professor and Doctor Sanjeev Bagai regarding the improper pruning or lopping off of approximately 800 trees in Vasant Vihar, South Delhi. 

Justice Najmi Waziri's ruling comes after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered that any further tree pruning, if deemed necessary, should be carried out strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, and the Guidelines issued by the Deputy Conservator of Forest/Member Secretary, Tree Authority.

Aditya N Prasad was the amicus curiae appointed by the court to assess the situation and provide assistance to the court.

Senior Advocate Vivek Sibal, who appeared for the petitioners sought directions apropos the procedure adopted for pruning of trees under the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994 and the Guidelines for Pruning of Trees dated October 1, 2019.

Sibal contended that the "impugned order permitting pruning of trees, on the basis of the Guidelines is erroneous because such pruning is permitted without prior approval of and without even a site inspection or assessment of the tree(s) concerned by the relevant authority. The Guidelines and the impugned order permit private parties/entities to prune trees even on land owned by the MCD, DDA and PWD".

Agreeing with the petition, the court noted: "A tree is a living being. It must be given, at least a 'last look' and accorded a final inspection before a decision is taken to permit its felling or sanctioning extensive amputation of its live branches."

The court referred to its earlier observation in the case, which noted that 'permission to cut the trees is granted simply on the averment that the trees were coming in the way of reconstruction, then sooner or later the city will be bereft of tree-lined avenues and a large part of its green cover. In a way, this would be a creeping legalised genocide of trees and Delhi would soon resemble nothing but a mass of concrete.'

Let's take a look at some of the other observations made in the ruling:

The Guidelines ride roughshod over all these concerns and grant general permission for pruning of tree branches having a girth of up to 15.7 cms.

The granting of permission for cutting, girdling, lopping, pollarding, etc. of trees is to be strictly regulated and such permission is not to be granted for the asking. Yet the Guidelines permit cutting/pruning of branches of trees having a girth/circumference up to 15.7 cm. How did this figure come about? 

What is the scientific methodology employed to measure that the pruning was done only up to a girth of 15.7 cm and not beyond, is not known or specified. Evidently, it is mere guesswork. An estimation.

Client: Prof. Dr. Sanjeev Bagai, Padam Shree
Prof. Dr. Sanjeev Bagai & Ors. v. Department of Environment, Government of NCT of Delhi & Ors.

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