Consider appointing more experts to Tree Authority:  Bombay High Court to BMC

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday said to keep larger public interest in mind and to safeguard the environment, the BMC should consider including more experts to the civic body’s tree authority.

A vacation bench of Justices Sandeep Shinde and Sarang Kotwal was hearing applications filed by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, and environmental activist Zoru Bhatena seeking various reliefs related to the tree authority.

The high court had, in October last year, restrained the tree authority from taking any decision on applications to cut trees until it had independent experts as nominated members. Last week, the BMC had informed the court that the present tree authority has four experts. Bhatena, however, took objection to this and said the tree authority had 15 councillors or corporators and just four experts.

He argued the BMC must include an equal number of experts as councillors to ensure permissions for felling trees were not granted indiscriminately. Bhatena’s lawyer Snehal on Monday told the court that the high court had, in an earlier order passed in April this year, observed that the number of experts and other members should be equal.

The bench then noted that the civic body was bound by the high court order.  “In larger public interest and to safeguard the environment, you (BMC) should either increase the number of experts or decrease the corporators in the tree authority,” the court said.

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