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SC to hear plea on tree cutting in Aarey Colony

Earlier, the new Maharashtra government lifted the stay on metro car shed construction in the area
Supreme Court
Supreme Court
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Our Bureau, PTI   |   New Delhi   |   Published 28.07.22, 01:47 PM

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a plea challenging the cutting of trees in Mumbai's Aarey colony for a Metro car shed.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant said it would take up the plea after senior advocate Gopal Shankarnarayan mentioned the matter.

Shankarnarayan said that despite the earlier stay order, cutting of trees is going on overnight. 

"We have photographs.The CJI said it will be heard by this bench. Can it be listed tomorrow?" Shankarnarayan said, adding JCBs would be operated over the weekend and the matter requires urgent hearing.

The top court then agreed to hear the matter on Friday.

The apex court in 2019 had taken suo motu (on its own) cognisance of a letter petition addressed to the Chief Justice of India by law student Rishav Ranjan seeking a stay on felling of trees in the colony.

The apex court had restrained authorities from cutting any more trees in Aarey colony after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on behalf of the State of Maharashtra had submitted that no further trees will be cut. 

However, a week earlier, the new Maharashtra government lifted the stay on the construction of a metro car shed in Aarey Colony, reversing a decision taken by the previous Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. The Eknath Shinde led government had decided to shift the metro-3 car shed project to Mumbai’s green belt of Aarey Forest. The project is part of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) funded project. 

The newly reversed decision by the Eknath Shinde-BJP alliance government has been criticized by environmentalists and they’ve held protests as well. Green activists and local residents have opposed the felling of trees in the colony. Former Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray had also participated in a protest against the state government's decision to construct a Metro car shed in the green colony. 

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