Three trees cut every hour in past three years, Delhi HC told

The court observed that “this city can't afford to lose 77,000 trees” and sought the stand of the Forest Department on the petitioner's computation.

Published: 11th July 2022 07:01 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th July 2022 07:01 PM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | Pixabay)

Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | Pixabay)


NEW DELHI: Three trees were cut every hour in the past three years in the national capital and the estimate does not include instances of illegal felling, the Delhi High Court was told on Monday.

Justice Najmi Waziri, who was hearing a contempt case concerning the preservation of trees in the city, was informed that as per an affidavit filed by the Forest Department of the Delhi government, 77420 trees were permitted to be cut down in the years 2019, 2020 and 2021.

If the instances of illegal tree felling, trees cut down for forest clearance, unnoticed felling of trees, and those lost to the storm, etc –which are not accounted for in the affidavit-- are considered, the figures may be twice or four times the current number of over 77 thousand, the counsel appearing in the matter said.

The court observed that “this city can't afford to lose 77,000 trees” and sought the stand of the Forest Department on the petitioner's computation while also asking it to disclose the data concerning categories stated to be missing from the earlier affidavit.

“Mr (Aditya N) Prasad, the learned counsel for the petitioner has brought the court's attention to a computation (based on the affidavit filed by the forest department of the Delhi government), according to which, in the years 2019, 2020, 2021, 77420 trees were permitted to be cut down.

This comes to about three trees per hour in the past three years. These figures are only for trees which were allowed to be felled under section 9, 29 of Delhi Trees Preservation Act,” the court recorded.

“Let the Forest Department file an affidavit on the missing well as its response to the figure of three trees being lost every hour,” ordered the court.

Counsel for the petitioner informed the court that as per a “green census” carried out in a certain area in the city, 77 trees were found to be missing and the figure rose to 177 missing after verification by the authorities.

The present contempt plea by Neeraj Sharma pertains to the trees in the Vikas Marg area in East Delhi.

During the hearing, the court raised concerns concerning the green cover of the city and also discussed the issue of transplantation of trees to certain areas in the national capital.

The court also said that it would hear the issue of contempt on the next date i.e. July 13 and subsequently pass the order on merit.

On June 3, the court held certain PWD officials and a Delhi police official guilty of contempt of court for violation of judicial orders concerning the preservation and protection of trees.

Earlier this year, the court had expressed its concern over the cutting down of fully grown trees in the city and said that it would be logical and prudent to transplant such trees instead of cutting them down and the “self-defeating exercise” by the Forest Department of Delhi government “needs to be arrested at the earliest.

” The court had emphasised the importance of even a solitary tree in any neighbourhood and stated that compensatory afforestation which is “geographically distant and nascent compensatory plantation can hardly be of any respite or actual compensation” and that it would be appropriate that the Tree Officers give due consideration to transplantation of each tree which is sought to be cut before granting any further permissions.

On May 19, the court had stayed any further felling of trees and said there was no other way to mitigate the ecological and environmental degradation in the city.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp