Mumbai: No tree felling until new authority ready

Mumbai: There is good news: No more trees would be chopped at least till the BMC constitutes its Tree Authority by following “due process of law.” This comes after the Bombay High Court on Wednesday dismantled the authority since it was not constituted by following the due process of law.

A division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Mahesh Sonak said, “The BMC’s TA shall not pass any order granting permission to cut any tree in the city.” “However, we allow the civic chief to allow felling of trees in emergency situations, where they pose a threat to public property,” Justice Oka said. The observations mean that till the BMC does not constitute its new TA.

The bench was seized with a plea filed by activist Zoru Bhathena challenging formation of the TA. He argued that the civic body has not followed the mandatory rules for constituting the TA. In his plea, Bhathena argued that the TA was illegal since it did not have any expert like a horticulturist on its panel. He informed the bench that the TA only had corporators on its panel. The BMC stand was surprising as it claimed that its TA was legal and that all its orders were within the four walls of law.

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