Bombay high court orders Thane civic body not to cut any trees till January 24

Thane Tree Authority had okayed cutting over 5,000 trees in its first meeting

mumbai Updated: Dec 20, 2017 10:44 IST
Megha Pol
Megha Pol
Hindustan Times
A PIL filed in the high court said members appointed to the tree authority were not qualified to be on it(HT PHOTO)

Following a public interest litigation (PIL) against the Thane Tree Authority, the Bombay high court on Tuesday asked the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) not to cut a single tree till January 24, potentially saving thousands of trees.

Tree lovers from Thane had approached the court alleging that the appointment of the members of the authority is illegal. The PIL also opposed the newly appointed authority’s decision to give approval to cut over 5,000 trees in its very first meeting. The PIL was registered by Rohit Joshi, a resident of Thane. Joshi has demanded that the authority be dissolved.

Joshi said, “The petition was heard by justice Abhay Oka who has asked the tree authority to stop all tree cutting permission till the next hearing slated for January 24. He also stated that the tree authority is wrongly constituted and all the decisions of this authority stand cancelled.”

The tree authority was formed in October 2017 and includes corporators, experts and invitees. The authority has 17 members and according to the Maharashtra Forest Conservation Act 1975, the members should be either science graduates or hold a degree in agricultural science.

Joshi had claimed in his petition that the Act had been violated as members appointed to the authority were not qualified to be on it.

Moreover, in the first meeting of the tree authority held on October 17, permission to cut 5,213 trees was given. Joshi added, “The court’s decision that the permissions to cut trees are to be cancelled will save at least 1,500 trees.”

First Published: Dec 20, 2017 00:19 IST