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HC stays NGT order allowing pruning of trees in south Delhi

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has stayed an order of the National Green Tribunal permitting pruning of trees in the city’s Vasant Vihar area.

Justice Najmi Waziri issued notices to the city authorities, including the Delhi government and the tree officer concerned, on a petition challenging the NGT order and said that further pruning in the area shall be kept in abeyance.

Senior counsel for the petitioners contended that pruning in the present case was illegal as it could be done only with strict permission of the tree officer and not on general guidelines and that extensive damage has been caused to trees in the area, which has set back the greenery by a decade.

“A more detailed assessment of the activity done by the RWA (resident welfare association) needs to be carried out. Further pruning in the area concerned has to be stopped right away…further pruning in the area shall be kept in abeyance,” said Justice Waziri in a recent order.

The court appointed lawyer Aditya N Prasad as amicus curiae and asked him to assess the situation at site and assist it in the matter.

The court also called for a fresh affidavit by the tree officer and said he can issue further orders in the matter if necessary.

The petitioners, Dr Sanjeev Bagai and others, said that under the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, the essential part of the preservation is that a tree should not be damaged in a manner which would impede its growth or otherwise severely affect its re-growth and regeneration.

It was stated that any woody plant which has a height of 30 cm and a trunk diameter of not less than 5 cm is considered a “tree” and is to be protected under the Act.

In the present case, it was argued, quite a few trees have been lopped off and approximately 800 trees have been pruned in violation of the law.

The matter would be heard next on March 10.

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( With inputs from www.siasat.com )

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