The Bombay High Court on Saturday rejected the application moved by environmental activists seeking a stay on the felling of over 2,500 trees, underway since Friday evening, in the Aarey Colony by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) to make way for a metro car shed. The cutting of trees has been met with stiff resistance from green activists.
Zoru Bhathena, a local resident who has been a petitioner before the High Court challenging the Tree Authority’s order directing 2646 trees to be cut, moved the court again.
His plea came up before a division bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and AK Menon and it refused to grant a stay.
“There is nothing on record to show that any request was made to stay the operation, implementation and enforcement of the judgment and order, nor any specific restraint was sought. We cannot proceed on any oral understanding. Merely because another Bench is constituted, it would not be proper to grant any relief. The nature of the relief is such that if it is granted, it would directly contravene the observations, findings and conclusions in the detailed judgment. Hence, the request is refused,” according to the court order.
On Friday, the Bombay High Court cleared the felling of over 2,000 trees of the Aarey forest. The verdict came as a big setback to environmentalists, activists and members of the Hindi film fraternity who were opposing the axing of the green cover.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre dismissed four petitions filed by NGOs and environmental activists on issues related to the Aarey Colony in Goregaon.
Several politicians had also extended their support to activists protesting against the feeling of trees. Shiv Sena, a partner of the ruling Bharatiya JAnata Party government in the state, had sided with the activists.
The Aarey colony, measuring 1,287 hectares and located adjoining to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, is known as a major green lung of the metropolis.
The state government had told the court on 20 September that Aarey cannot be declared a forest just because of its greenery. The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation had argued in court that the project was of paramount importance for the city.