The supreme court of India has asked the Maharastra state government to ensure that no more trees in Aarey colony are axed. In a strong verdict issued by the bench of Chief Justices Arun Mishra and Ashok Bhushan restrains the authorities from felling any more trees for setting up the car shed.
The special bench said it will hear all the petitions in the matter on October 21.
The decision was passed after hearing the suo moto PIL based on a letter written to the court by a few law students against the downing of the trees by the state govt.
The court asked the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to include the ministry of forest and environment as a party in the matter. Mehta assured that no further trees will be cut in Aarey Colony and announced that all the arrested protestors were released. “In case those are still not released shall be released immediately,” he assured.
Senior Advocate Gopal Shankarnarayan represented the environment activists while Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde represented the group of law students.
Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayan said that, since a matter regarding Aarey Colony being an eco-sensitive zone is pending with National Green Tribunal, authorities should not have gone ahead with felling of trees.
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) starting cutting the trees on friday night after the Bombay High Court rejected a bunch of petitions filed by activists and NGOs against the cutting of the trees to make space for a car shed.
Activists and protestors from Aarey Colony gathered at the site to stop the authorities from cutting the trees following which the Mumbai Police imposed section 144 and held 84 protestors for “disturbing public order and obstructing government officials from performing their duties.”
29 of these 84 were sent on five-day judicial custody and were later granted bail on Sunday against a cash bond of Rs. 7,000 but were asked to appear at the police station for further inquiry.
Various political parties including, Shiv Sena and Congress condemned the decision to cut the trees.