New Delhi: The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) on Friday told the Supreme Court that no trees have been cut in Mumbai’s Aarey colony after October 2019.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for MMRCL, told a bench headed by Justice U U Lalit that he had made a statement before the Supreme court in 2019 that no further cutting of trees will be done for a metro car shed in Aarey colony and after that, no trees have been cut there. “There is a statement which I had made that there will not be any further cutting of trees and I have filed an affidavit today that thereafter, there has never been any cutting of trees,” Mehta told the bench, also comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and S R Bhat.
The top court was hearing an application that alleged that authorities have resumed cutting down trees in the Aarey colony. Mehta said some bushes were there on the ground which have been cleared and some branches were trimmed so that vehicles could pass on an approach road there.
“That trimming took place. That is what I have said on the affidavit. No tree cutting is going on,” he said. While taking the affidavit on record, the bench said pending further consideration, no specific interim directions are called for in view of the stand taken in the affidavit filed on behalf of the corporation.
“Suffice it to say that as stated by the concerned respondent, no further trees have been cut since the order dated October 7, 2019, and shall not be cut in any manner till the next date of hearing,” the bench said while posting the matter for hearing on August 10.
The Supreme court in 2019 had taken suo motu cognisance of a letter petition addressed to the then Chief Justice of India by a law student seeking a stay on the felling of trees in the Aarey colony. The top court had restrained the authorities from cutting any more trees in the Aarey colony after the solicitor general had submitted on behalf of the state of Maharashtra that no further trees will be cut.
The felling of trees in the colony has been opposed by green activists and residents.