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  • Writer's pictureThe Times of India

Norms set aside, Delhi HC acts tough on pruning

Green and blue planet made with paper to depict AnantLaw case covered in National News by The Times of India

This news report was authored and published by The Times of India on 15 June 2023. The article talks about a case represented by AnantLaw.

Delhi High Court has stated that no pruning of trees will be permitted in the city except in accordance with the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994. It has also set aside the guidelines that permitted regular pruning of branches of trees with a girth up to 15.7 cm without specific prior permission.

However, the forest department of Delhi is free to draw up fresh guidelines that are in sync with the Act, the court said.

"There may be occasions where rare species of trees may be sought to be felled. The more solitary a tree, the greater its significance. Therefore, the responsibility of protecting and nurturing the solitary tree is far greater upon the tree officer and the authorities concerned. 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," Justice Najmi Waziri observed in an order, which was passed last month but made public on Wednesday.

The court underlined that under the DPT Act, "there is no sanction for the 15.7 cm girth of a tree branch to be cut. Therefore, this figure is incongruous with the statutory requirements as mandated under sections 8 and 9 of the DPT Act. The so-called permission granted under the guidelines seeks to over-reach the statute."

It added that the guidelines are hence "in conflict with the DPT Act, they are arbitrary and illegal. Consequently, the permission for pruning, presumed to be or granted under the guidelines would be of no consequence..."

The court's direction came on a petition filed by Sanjeev Bagai, a doctor who highlighted improper pruning or lopping off of approximately 800 trees in Vasant Vihar.

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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