Explain clearly L-G’s role in felling of trees, SC tells DDA

The SC found it particularly troubling that these trees were felled despite the need for approval from it.
Explain clearly L-G’s role in felling of trees, SC tells DDA

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday demanded a clear explanation from the vice-chairman of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) about whether the trees in the Ridge area were cut under orders from the Lieutenant-Governor without the necessary permissions.

A vacation bench comprising Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan said the court wanted to thoroughly investigate the DDA’s actions that led to the loss of valuable trees and the subsequent environmental degradation. The SC found it particularly troubling that these trees were felled despite the need for approval from it.

“Such brazen acts in the capital city cannot be lightly brushed aside by this court. If the authorities are not performing their statutory and constitutional duties of protecting the environment, the court has to give a clear signal to the authorities that the environment cannot be damaged in such a fashion,” it said.

The court instructed the DDA vice-chairman to provide official records on the L-G’s site visit on February 3 and detail the events of that visit. The SC stressed the importance of obtaining a clear account from the vice-chairman, as emails suggested the tree felling was directed by the LG. The SC expects the DDA to “come clean on this aspect,” and issued contempt notices to the involved DDA officers. The matter is set for a hearing on June 26.

‘Provide official records’

The SC asked the DDA vice-chairman to provide records on the L-G’s site visit on February 3. It stressed the importance of obtaining a clear account from the vice-chairman, as emails suggested the tree felling was directed by the L-G.

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