SHIMLA-------While hearing a petition highlighting the issue of illegal felling of healthy green trees within the municipal jurisdiction of M.C. Shimla, the High Court of H.P. today stayed all the permissions of felling/lopping of trees, except the permissions granted to the Electricity Department of Himachal Pradesh.
The Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice L. Narayana Swamy and Justice Anoop Chitkara passed these orders on a petition treated as Public Interest Litigation, whereby the petitioner has highlighted the issue of illegal felling of healthy green trees within the municipal jurisdiction of M.C. Shimla, by countermanding the statutory provisions of the Forest Conservation Act and H.P. Municipal Corporation Act, and by also violating various directions passed by the Hon'ble Apex Court, High Court and the National Green Tribunal.
The petitioner has prayed to quash and set aside the permissions granted by Tree Authority Committee for felling of innumerable trees and also to quash and set aside notification regarding constitution of cabinet sub-committee to decide and dispose of all matter of felling of trees. The petitioner has also prayed to hold an impartial and independent inquiry, as to whether convincing and cogent reasons were recorded, photography and videography was conducted while processing the applications, requisite environment clearance was obtained, whether serious efforts were made to save the trees and felling of trees was permitted only as a last resort. The petitioner has prayed to restrain the authorities from furthering the process of illegal felling of green trees or granting permission in future without the leave of the Hon'ble Court, in the garb of dangerous trees, or widening of existing roads, and also from granting any permission w.r.t. cutting/felling/lopping of any green trees in the green belts/public forests in jurisdiction of Municipal Corporation, Shimla.
With respect to the list of the cases recommended by the TAC for felling/lopping of trees, the Court directed the State to give information qua i) the cases where felling of trees took place, ii)where felling orders expired without any felling of trees, iii)where felling orders were renewed after expiry and iv)where permissions were not renewed.
The Court posted the matter for 12.5.2021.