Damage to trees in east Delhi: PWD officials, cop guilty of contempt, rules HC
Justice Najmi Waziri noted that the extensive damage to trees due to the PWD’s ongoing civil works in the Vikas Marg area was in breach of the judicial mandate.
The Delhi high court on Friday held three Public Works Department (PWD) officials and a Delhi Police officer guilty of contempt of court for violating judicial orders regarding the preservation and protection of trees.
Justice Najmi Waziri, who was dealing with a contempt petition filed by one Neeraj Sharma, a resident, regarding damage to trees in the Vikas Marg area in east Delhi, noted that trees there were extensively damaged by the PWD’s ongoing civil works, which were in breach of the judicial mandate.
“The said work was being carried out under the supervision of respondent 1 (executive engineer, PWD), the concurrence of respondent 2 (engineer-in-chief, PWD), and jurisdictional supervision of respondent 3 (executive engineer). Respondent 4 (SHO concerned) too is liable under the law to protect any damage to the trees,” the court said.
Holding the officials guilty, the court said, “Fact remains that each of the officers named above is complicit in some measure or the other of having breached the court’s directions. Accordingly, they are held guilty of committing contempt of court. Let them be present in the court on the next date for orders on sentencing,” said the court and listed the matter for further consideration on July 7.
The petitioner, represented by lawyer Aditya N Prasad, said that 11 complaints were filed with PWD, the forest department and Delhi Police concerning the damage but no action was taken.
The court also asked the authorities to de-concretise the area around trees in certain areas of the city.