On 13.09.2019 the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai Tree Authority gave order to cut 2238 out of 3500 trees from Aarey Forest which is considered as the lungs of Mumbai near Mithi Bank River for the purpose of making Car Shed which is sought to be located in 33 hectares of land at Aarey.
According to the news report, total 1500 trees have already been cut by the authorities. The order dated 13.09.2019 was challenged before Hon’ble Bombay High Court. However, the Court dismissed the petition.
Some law students, young activists and rural people stated peaceful vigil against such actions of MCGM. Apparently, the police authorities started charging laathi on all the people. Also, they were illegally detained by the concerned authorities in Dahisar Police Station. This detention was challenged before Bombay High Court but the same was dismissed on 04.10.2019. It was reported by the detainees that the rate of felling of trees is 7 trees per 10 minutes.
The student delegation knocked the doors of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on 06.10.19 by writing a letter addressed to Hon’ble Chief Justice of India by Mr. Rishav Ranjan (4th Year Law Student at Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida) requesting the Court to exercise its Epistolary Jurisdiction to protect Aarey without getting into the technicalities as there was no time for the preparation of proper appeal. The delegation placed reliance on judgments such as Bandhua Mukhti Morcha v. UOI, Peoples Union of Democratic Right and Ors. v. UOI and Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra. The matter was accepted by Hon’ble CJI and was further listed on 07.10.19 for hearing.
The matter was heard by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Arun Mishra & Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ashok Bhushan on 07.10.19. The coram decided in favour of the Student Delegation by putting stay on the activities of MCGM. Also, the status quo shall be maintained till the next date of hearing with respect of trees.
In an interview Mr. Rishav Ranjan said that, “The decision of the Court has given us the relief; however, a lot of work is still to be done.”
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