NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Maharashtra government and the MMRDA to not fell trees for its metro construction project in Mumbai till the Bombay High Court takes a decision on the plea of an activist against cutting of trees.
A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices S A Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna also returned to the high court the appeal of activist Rohit Joshi against an earlier order of the HC.
Joshi had approached the apex court against the high court's order upholding the permission granted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) tree authority to Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) to fell trees for the Metro IV line project.
The metro will start from the New Thane metro station in the old city area and will connect to Wadala-Kasarvadavli line at two places, namely New Thane station and Dongripada.
At the outset, the bench was told by the counsel for the government authorities that they have incurred a huge cost due to the delay in the metro project and, moreover, the high court is scheduled to hear a related plea on Dec 12.
The counsel said the authorities have planted five trees as compensatory afforestation in lieu of one tree felled.
The bench then requested the high court to take up Joshi's plea on the next date of hearing and pass an order.
"Till then there shall be an injunction (stay) on felling of trees. No trees shall be cut without a decision from the Bombay High Court," the bench ordered.