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Trimming of trees: Bombay high court pulls up BMC for blanket nods to other bodies

The Bombay high court on Tuesday questioned the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) practice to grant blanket permissions to electricity companies, railways and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to trim trees within their respective premises

mumbai Updated: Jun 20, 2018 01:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Trees,Mumbai,HC

The Bombay high court on Tuesday questioned the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) practice to grant blanket permissions to electricity companies, railways and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to trim trees within their respective premises.

“You (BMC) cannot grant such blanket permissions,” said a division bench of justices Abhay Oka and Riyaz Chagla, referring to trimming permissions granted to Reliance Energy, Tata Power, AAI and the railways.

“Who will decide if the branch (sought to be cut) poses danger or not,” the judges asked the BMC counsel, senior advocate Anil Sakhare. “Suppose in a given case, all branches of a tree are cut, it will be virtual destruction of the entire tree... Somebody must apply their mind,” they said.

Sakhare argued that no statute requires permission to trim trees, and the civic body can exercise its power under Section 383 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888. Besides, provisions of the Electricity Act and the AAI Act empower the respective bodies to trim trees, said the counsel. He added that trees were trimmed by these bodies under supervision of a civic employee.

The bench, however, was irked to note that the permissions were not granted for any specific premises, but for the entire corporation area and blanket permissions are not contemplated under any of the statutes quoted by the civic body’s lawyer. The court was hearing a plea filed by city activist Zoru Bhathena. The bench has posted the plea for further hearing on Friday.

First Published: Jun 20, 2018 01:03 IST