Panaji: The Bombay High Court at Goa has directed that the North and South Goa Tree Authorities to report ‘real compliance’ on progress made in conducting a tree census in the state of Goa by April 25, failing which the secretaries of the two authorities would be hauled before the court for contempt.
Hearing a matter filed by the Living Heritage Foundation, based on whose petition the High Court had issued a series of directions last year including to conduct a time-bound tree census as mandated under the Tree Preservation Act, 1984, the High Court expressed disappointment that the Tree Authorities had made “no compliance with [the] direction instead, some groundwork is being laid to avoid compliances.”
If we find that there is no serious work to commence and complete the census work with the expedition required of them, we will be constrained to consider whether any action is warranted in exercise of our contempt jurisdiction, the order said.
The court has directed the member secretary of the two Tree Authorities to file a further compliance report by April 25 indicating the actual progress made at the ground level.
If for any reason, the compliance report is not filed by 25th April 2022, the two member secretaries should remain present in the court with all records concerning compliance, the order stated.
“To date, there is no census carried out. From 8th July 2021, only some files have been moved from one table to the other. The compliance report/chart says that the Tree Authorities were of the view that the trees census may be initiated in Goa, to begin with, within jurisdictional limits of the City of Corporation of Panaji and Margao Municipal Council i.e. one each in North and South Goa District,” the High Court bench of Justices M S Sonak and R N Laddha, said.
“Therefore, once again, we remind the Tree Authorities of their statutory obligation. We also remind the Tree Authorities of the clear directions issued by us in our judgement and order dated 8th July 2021, including the timeline, set out therein. If we find that there is no serious work to commence and complete the census work with the expedition required of them, we will be constrained to consider whether any action is warranted in exercise of our contempt jurisdiction,” the High court also said.
The court had disposed of the petition in July 2021 by directing the state to implement the various mandates prescribed under the Goa, Daman, and Diu Preservation of Trees Act, 1984 (Trees Act). The court further directed the state to file its compliance reports from time to time.
This news is reported by The Goan. To read more GOA news visit The Goan.