SC stays felling of 1,023 trees for Metro line 4
The HC lifted its earlier stay stating that the petition did not cite the violations clearly carried out during permission for tree-cutting.
Mumbai: The Supreme Court Monday ordered status quo on the felling of 1,023 trees in the Thane area for construction work of the metro line 4, also known as the Wadala-Thane-Kasarvadavali line. The apex court ordered an interim stay for two weeks while hearing a petition moved by a Thane activist after the Bombay high court last week lifted its earlier stay on tree-cutting.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde Monday heard the plea filed by activist Rohit Joshi, challenging the HC order of November 25 lifting its earlier stay on the razing of trees. The original petition had demanded that the metro line be made underground instead of the proposed elevated corridor to prevent destruction of the environment and cutting of trees.
“We had also highlighted in the high court that the tree-cutting was approved illegally by the tree authority of the TMC (Thane Municipal Corporation). There was no public hearing held for the proposal of cutting 1,023 trees as mandated under the Trees Act, and the notice was also not published as required,” said Mr Joshi.
The HC lifted its earlier stay stating that the petition did not cite the violations clearly carried out during permission for tree-cutting. “The high court erred in vacating the interim order, thereby paving the way for destruction of trees for construction of metro line 4 in Thane, and rendering the writ petition infructuous,” the petition said.
It further added that the stay order be continued as the permission granted for the felling of trees is in violation of section 8 of the Maharashtra (Urban Are-as) Protection & Conserv-ation of Trees Act, 1975.
“The HC observed that the petition is stalling a public interest project, which may set a wrong example and as such, the petitioners will not be able to challenge the discrepancies in the public project,” added Mr Joshi.
A police complaint was filed Sunday against the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for allegedly illegally cutting six trees along the Thane stretch of metro line 4 near Teen Haath Naka.