[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Supreme Court issued a notice to the Government of Uttar Pradesh, the Ministry of Defence and other respondents in a petition filed against the proposal of the Uttar Pradesh government to cut 64,000 trees for Defence Expo in Lucknow.
A three-judge bench of Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant has now listed the matter for further hearing in January 2020.
The petition, which is filed by Sheela Barse through Prashant Padmanabhan, seeks to consider ‘Fundamental Right to Justice and Intergenerational Equity’ of living Entities under Article 32, 14,19,21 and 48A of the Constitution of India.
The plea contends that “Violence is not just physical violence but also curtailing the gifts of nature to future generations. Cutting of huge number of trees is an inter-generational injustice which must be stopped forever”.
The petitions sought the following reliefs from the apex court:
- Take Cognisance of Intergenerational Equity Rights of Trees, and Recognise Trees a Living Entities entitled to Rights; and
- Direct the State of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and any other State or Union Territory, or Government of India Wing or Agency to Abandon the plan of destruction of trees for any purpose whatsoever unless it meets Expert scrutiny; and
- Specifically, direct UP Government and Defence Ministry Government of India not to damage, fell, uproot, cut down, burn down or otherwise destroy part of whole of trees. If the tree due to age etc. is danger to life as it is about to fell the state of that entity may be video graphed in the presence of the Collector of the District so that s/he may file Report this Court if so required; and
- There is an established procedure to authorise a few journalists to accompany action teams. Given that actions have been taken at night the Court may direct that teams of 3-4 major TV channels to select JOURNALISTS FOR EMBEDDING so that may cover all actions round the clock; and
- Direct the Union of India and all State Governments to formulate policies so that trees are not cut for future events; and
- Direct the National Green Tribunal to work out plan so that trees are not to be removed henceforth for any project; and pass such other further Order/Orders as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper in the facts and circumstances of the case.
The Uttar Pradesh government in November 2019 took the decision to cut approximately 64, 000 trees on the bank of Gomti river for holding different programmes during the Defence Expo.
Through a letter, Lucknow Development Authority asked the Lucknow Nagar Nigam to remove the trees from Hanuman Setu to the Nishatganj bridge and to handover the land after clearing the trees to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
The Defence Expo is scheduled to be held from February 5 – 8, 2020
Read the petition here: