Even as the Centre continued with its flip flop in the case related to construction of statues and memorial for Dalit leaders at a Noida park, the Supreme Court on Friday advised the UP government to reduce its construction area from 55 per cent to 40 per cent.
A special bench headed by Justice S H Kapadia instead suggested increasing the green area to 60 per cent and recommended planting of indigenous trees such as neem, peepal and banyan tree rather than “cosmetic” trees.
One of the bench members, Justice Aftab Alam, went on to recommend planting of a branch of the Bodhi tree from Bodh Gaya at the park in Noida. As the petitioner’s counsel, senior advocate Jayant Bhushan argued if the construction was wrong, the structures should be pulled down, the bench stated it was making the suggestion, as the court wasn’t sure if the whole area in question was a forest. It gave the state government one week’s time to respond.
Meanwhile, the Centre filed yet another affidavit before the SC, stating it could not grant environmental clearance to the memorial if the state government did not take measures for the area’s ecological restoration.
Friday’s affidavit is a U turn from the Centre’s earlier stand in which it had stated the land did not come under the forest area.
This stand, the UP government had told the apex court, favoured lifting of the stay imposed by the apex court in October last.
Even the court commented the Centre was doing a flip flop in the matter. The affidavit cited Bombay Natural History Society’s report and stated the ministry would not grant clearance until the state did not undertake and discharge the actions suggested by the institute.