In a contempt case involving the preservation of trees in the national capital, Justice Najmi Waziri harshly reprimanded the authorities for failing to act quickly to transplant trees in the city as per the court’s earlier instructions. The court expressed concern in prior hearings on the subject regarding the removal of mature trees from the city, indicating that it would be appropriate and prudent to transplant such trees rather than remove them. On Monday, the petitioner’s attorney gave the court information based on an affidavit submitted by the Delhi government’s Forest Department that showed roughly 77420 trees were allowed to be cut down between 2019 and 21.The petitioner also made clear that these were exclusively based on trees whose removal was authorised by law.
Therefore, the figures may be twice as large as they are now if instances of unlawful tree cutting, trees chopped down for forest clearance, unobserved felling of trees, and those lost to the storm that were not accounted for in the affidavit were taken into account. The court noted that Mr. Prasad, the petitioner’s knowledgeable attorney, had drawn the court’s attention to a calculation that showed 77420 trees may be felled in the years 2019, 2020, and 2021. In the last three years, this equates to about three trees each hour.Only trees that were permitted to be filed under Sections 9, 29 of the Delhi Trees Preservation Act are included in these statistics. Let the Forest Department submit an affidavit detailing the missing data and providing an explanation for the statistic that three trees are lost every hour.
The Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994’s Section 22 was violated, the court found, by the police officers’ acts.