BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court asked the Tree Authority if it has taken any step to conduct a census and take action to plant saplings in place of fallen trees in the city, as per the law.
This question was posed by the division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice H T Narendra Prasad during the hearing of the PIL filed by Dattatraya T Devare, a resident of Domlur and Bangalore Environment Trust.
The court stated that the objections filed by the Tree Authority do not indicate that such a census has been conducted. There are other duties entrusted to the Tree Authority, such as Section 10, which provides that where any tree has fallen or destroyed due to natural causes, the authority has to step in and ensure that trees are planted in place of those fallen, the court said.
Not an authority on destruction of trees
On the mandatory duty of the Tree Authority to meet at least once in three months, the court said, “We cannot avoid temptation of quoting the observations made by a division bench of the Bombay High Court in a PIL that the Tree Authority is not an authority for the destruction of trees, but for the preservation of the trees and enhancement of the fast depleting green cover. The green cover of Bengaluru has reduced by a drastic 78%. Though the Principal Government Advocate tried to dispute this, in the absence of census of trees, it may not be possible to dispute the correctness of the said contention.”The court said it depicts a sorry state of affairs when it comes to implementation of the provisions of the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976.