The Delhi High Court has directed that authorities in the national capital will not permit the felling of trees for house construction projects. This move extends a previous order dated August 31, in which the Delhi government had stated that no individual permissions for tree felling would be granted. Only essential projects requiring tree felling will be considered and must be reported to the court.
Justice Jasmeet Singh gave Anupam Srivastava, the Delhi government’s additional standing counsel, two weeks to file a detailed report on the status of transplanted and replanted trees in the city. The court wants to know if the transplantation or replantation of trees has been successful.
“In the meantime, the directions contained in the August 31 order shall continue. No permission shall be granted for felling of trees in respect of construction of houses,” Justice Singh stated. The matter has been scheduled for further hearing on October 6.
The court’s latest directive came in response to a petition that sought action against officers who were not complying with an April 2022 order from the court. This earlier order required authorities to “spell out the reasons for felling of even a single tree.”
Petitioner Bhavreen Khandari’s lawyer, Aditya N Prasad, filed an application for an early hearing of the contempt plea, alleging that authorities were “recklessly granting permission for felling of trees.”
After examining the permissions that had been given for tree felling, the High Court noted on August 31 that there appeared to be a “total non-application of mind” in granting these permissions. Some of the permits had even been issued to individuals simply for the sake of creating parking spaces for their vehicles.
The petitioner’s counsel had previously pointed out that he found 57 orders where felling or transplantation permissions had been granted merely because the trees were obstructing proposed construction projects.
This recent ruling by the Delhi High Court serves as an urgent call for sustainable development practices. By extending its August 31 order, the court is sending a clear message that environmental conservation should be a priority and should not be compromised for construction activities. The court’s decision has now set a legal precedent that underscores the significance of balancing development with environmental considerations.