The Bombay high court on Wednesday rapped Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) tree authority after noticing it had cleared 56 proposals to remove hundreds of trees during an hour-long meeting.
“The function of the tree authority is to save trees and not to allow removal of a vast number of trees,” said a division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice Amjad Sayed.
“Hundreds of trees have been allowed to be cut down within a span of 60 to 90 minutes,” the judges said, while expressing anguish over the mechanical manner in which the tree authority cleared the 56 proposals in its meeting of April 16, 2016.
Acting on a public interest litigation, the bench had on Tuesday ordered the BMC to produce minutes of the meetings of its tree authority. Accordingly, senior advocate Anil Sakhare submitted minutes of the meetings for the perusal of the judges. The judges were irked by the fact that it had cleared 56 proposals involving the removal of hundreds of trees in the meeting that lasted for around one-and-a-half hours.
The PIL has been filed by city activist Raghunath Kottary about the utter disregard shown by the tree authority to legal provisions concerned while clearing proposals for the removal of trees and its failure to ensure compliance of conditions imposed while granting such permissions.