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Delhi HC allows tree cutting for construction, excludes seven south Delhi colonies

The high court said that if anyone was unhappy with any other construction work, they can challenge it in the National Green Tribunal.

delhi Updated: Sep 07, 2018 03:14 IST
Richa Banka
Richa Banka
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi high court,Tree felling,South Delhi colonies
Earlier, the court had stayed construction work and felling of trees in the national capital after a bunch of PILs was filed challenging the terms of reference and the environmental clearances granted to some housing projects.(Yogendra Kumar/For representational purposes only)

The Delhi High Court on Thursday modified its earlier order and allowed cutting of trees for construction projects which are being redeveloped to house government employees.

The stay order, however, will continue to be in place for seven south Delhi colonies where NBCC was redeveloping housing quarters for Central government employees.

Clarifying its order, a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V Kameswar said that the direction to not cut trees is valid only for seven south Delhi projects and not the entire city.

“This petition only restricting to the seven projects, nothing more,” the bench said adding, “We are allowing the applications. We will not be party to interference with several projects of national interest.”

It also said that the present petition cannot have retrospective effect on all the other ongoing projects around the city.

The court’s order comes while allowing three applications — one each filed by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), Delhi government and the NHAI — seeking modifications of its earlier order of the high court and allowing them to continue construction in the rest of the city for which clearances have been given.

Appearing for the SDMC, senior advocate Sanjay Poddar informed the court that two of its project—one in Tejpur and the other at a landfill site at Badarpur—have been held up because of court order. He also contended that even the Apex court had given its nod to continue with the projects.

Representing the Delhi government, its standing counsel Ramesh Singh submitted that the scope or injunction cannot go beyond seven south Delhi colonies.

Following this, the court said that it cannot restrict other projects in national interest. It said that if anyone was unhappy with any other construction work, they can challenge it in the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

“These are all environmental matters and issue for the National Green Tribunal, not for this court. The petition which was primarily filed is only with regard to the seven projects being redeveloped by the NBCC. We are restricted only to this project,” it said.

The bench also said that some of the projects are also being looked into by the Apex court and so it would not interfere in those matters.

Earlier, the court had stayed construction work and felling of trees in the national capital after a bunch of PILs was filed challenging the terms of reference and the environmental clearances granted to the housing projects at the seven colonies — Sarojini Nagar, Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Thyagaraja Nagar, Kasturba Nagar, Mohammadpur and Srinivaspuri — claiming that it would result in the felling of 16,500 trees.

The matter would be now heard on October 3.

First Published: Sep 07, 2018 03:14 IST