Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], August 6 (ANI): Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday vacated the stay of all valid permissions granted for felling of trees by the appropriate authority.
The court, however, directed that no tree and not even a single branch of any tree shall be cut under any circumstances without any authority of law.
The Division Bench comprising the Acting Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua passed the orders on a petition treated as Public Interest Litigation (PIL).
The petitioner, in the PIL, had highlighted the issue of illegal felling of healthy green trees within the jurisdiction of Municipal Corporation (M.C.), in violation of the statutory provisions of the Forest Conservation Act, H.P. Municipal Corporation Act, and directions passed by Supreme Court, High Court and the National Green Tribunal.
The petitioner had prayed to quash and set aside the permissions granted for felling of innumerable trees and to restrain the authorities from furthering the process of illegal felling of green trees and granting permission in future without the leave of the court, in the garb of dangerous trees, or widening of existing roads.
The court in its earlier order dated May 4, 2021, had stayed all the permissions of felling/lopping of trees, except the permissions granted to the state's Electricity Department.
However, the state had filed the application for modification of the interim order contending that monsoon season is at its peak and there is the possibility of uprooting of dangerous trees, which may cause a threat to life and property.
The court observed that the interim order dated is to be read-only in respect of the trees which are being cut illegally or without any permission.
Further, the court observed that in case the petitioner is aggrieved by any of the permissions that have been granted, he is always at liberty to file an appeal against the said order and the grant of permissions have been done under the provisions of the relevant statute, after considering the emergent cases by the authority. The interim order, therefore, needs to be modified.
The court has also directed the state not to cut or to undergo lopping of trees in any manner whatsoever until and unless there is valid permission in law to do so.
The matter has been posted for two weeks. (ANI)