Aarey forest controversy: Supreme Court stays further felling of trees for Mumbai Metro construction, orders release of arrested activists

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Published: October 7, 2019 11:02:35 AM

Law students and green activists had moved the Supreme Court on Sunday against the felling of trees in Mumbai's Aarey to set up a Metro car shed. The felling of trees is being opposed by activists and locals.

Aarey forest An activist holds a placard during a protest against cutting down of trees for a proposed metro car shed project at Aarey Colony in Mumbai.

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the felling of trees in Aarey forest of Mumbai for construction of Mumbai Metro and ordered the immediate release of all activists held by the police. Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, appearing for law students, and senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayan who was representing the activists, told the court that Aarey forest was a no-development zone and not eco-sensitive zone. They told the court that Aarey forest was deemed as “unclassified forest” by state government and felling of trees is illegal.

“Don’t cut anything now,” a special bench of justices Arun Mishra and Ashok Bhushan said, adding that it will have to examine the entire thing. The top court also recorded an undertaking by the state government that it will not cut any more trees till the matter is decided. The matter has now been posted for hearing by the Supreme Court’s green bench on October 21.

The court also sought a report from the Maharashtra government on its afforestation drive to compensate for trees cutting in Aarey.

The court also considered the plea of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that he was not aware of all records.

The court said that if anybody is still under arrest they be released forthwith on furnishing of personal bonds. To this, the Maharashtra government replied all those arrested for protesting against cutting of trees in Aarey have been released.

The court said that forest bench will hear plea regarding felling of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey on October 21.

Law students and green activists had moved the Supreme Court on Sunday against the felling of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey to set up a Metro car shed. The felling of trees is being opposed by activists and locals.

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