MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has let off Raymond group CMD Gautam Singhania in a case of felling of over 500 trees in his firm's premises at Thane, but has allowed prosecution of his several other officials for it.
A bench of Justice A K Menon quashed a Thane magisterial court's notice seeking Singhania's explanation as to why he should not be prosecuted for felling the trees.
The bench observed that the magisterial court's order had been issued without proper application of mind.
The bench, however, upheld the magisterial court's notice to other officials of the group's firm saying, "The felling of trees cannot be ignored or trivialised. If, in fact, so many trees have been cut, it is indeed a serious matter that should be taken to its logical conclusion in accordance with law."
A Thane court had issued notices to group's chairmancum-managing director Singhania and others in July 2014 on a complaint by Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) accusing the business firm of illegally felling 586 trees in its premises without prior permission from the civic body.
Singhania had later approached the high court challenging the notice and sought quashing of the proceedings initiated against him.
His lawyer Subodh Desai claimed that the company has its own horticulture department and some small and wild weed plants which were uprooted due to monsoons were removed.
Desai said the company's CMD could not be held personally liable for such an act.
He further argued that absolutely no material was placed before the magistrate for issuing the process against Singhania, as the company itself had not been named in the complaint, and the order issuing the process was mechanically passed.
The bench, while accepting Desai's arguments, quashed the magistrate's order last month.