After taking suo moto cognisance of the Aarey tree cutting matter, a special bench of the Supreme Court put a stay on the Bombay High Court’s order allowing felling of trees. The special bench comprising justices Arun Mishra and Ashok Bhushan said it will have to examine the entire thing and posted the matter for hearing on October 21 before its forest bench.
During the hearing the Maharashtra Government told the bench that all those arrested for protesting against cutting of trees in Aarey have been released. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Maharashtra Government, submitted that he was not aware of all records and assured the bench that nothing will be cut in Aarey till the case is decided. The felling of trees is being opposed by green activists and local residents.
The petitioners told the bench that Aarey forest was deemed as an “unclassified forest” by the state government and felling of of trees was illegal. However, after perusing the notification issued by the Maharashtra government, the bench said, Aarey area is a no development zone and not a eco-sensitive zone as claimed by the petitioner.
Activists and protestors alike as well as politicl parties welcomed the Supreme Court’s intervention
The Bombay High Court had on October 4 refused to declare Aarey Colony a forest and declined to quash the Mumbai municipal corporation’s decision to allow felling of over 2,600 trees in the green zone to set up a metro car shed. The apex court decided on Sunday to register as PIL a letter addressed to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi by law student Rishav Ranjan seeking a stay on cutting of trees.