Delhi HC Protects 300 Years Old Banyan Tree From Builder, Asks Municipal Corporation To Prepare A Census Of Trees In Chandni Chowk [Read Order]

first_imgNews UpdatesDelhi HC Protects 300 Years Old Banyan Tree From Builder, Asks Municipal Corporation To Prepare A Census Of Trees In Chandni Chowk [Read Order] Monisha Purwar7 Aug 2020 11:53 PMShare This – xThe Delhi High Court has ordered removal of construction and concrete around a 300 year old tree in Chandni Chowk, as a step to protect the majestic Banyan tree. The Court also ordered the Tree Officer, Government of Delhi to immediately suggest requisite measures to restore the health of the tree. The order was passed by Justice Najmi Wajiri in a petition filed by Mr. Nitin…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Delhi High Court has ordered removal of construction and concrete around a 300 year old tree in Chandni Chowk, as a step to protect the majestic Banyan tree. The Court also ordered the Tree Officer, Government of Delhi to immediately suggest requisite measures to restore the health of the tree. The order was passed by Justice Najmi Wajiri in a petition filed by Mr. Nitin Gupta seeking protection and restoration of a 300 old Banyan tree from unauthorized construction by the builder. The Court noted that the grand old Banyan tree has witnessed the unfolding of history in the city of Delhi for the past three centuries and has now been mercilessly cut and mutilated by the builder who would build up real estate than appreciate this invaluable heritage. The Court noted the damage to the tree as follows “So first, the builder extensively cuts the decades-old branches, then chops-off its intricate labyrinthian prop-roots and then digs the earth about 12-14 feet deep – all around the tree, for erecting concrete walls/support base for a steel and iron superstructure. In the process the subterranean roots have been cut, depriving the tree of the essential sources of sustenance from the earth. Its stability too has been shaken. It has been ‘cabined, cribbed, confined’, in a constricted concrete space. Indeed, the photos show that the tree has already been wrapped in dark plastic sheet, like an ominous black shroud, as if its end is nigh.” In addition to restoration of the Banyan tree, the Court has ordered that a census of trees in Chandni Chowk be prepared by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation. The Court stated that “It cannot be denied that in the Walled City, especially in the densely populated and heavily built-up area of Chandni Chowk, there are hardly many trees. Therefore, each tree in that neighbourhood, is valuable and would need protection. Perhaps, the Tree Officer and Corporation can jointly embark on tree census exercise, in the Walled City. The Corporation’s Building Department would have a fair knowledge of trees in the area. Additionally, they could invite information in this regard, from the general public. Let a compilation of the known or identified trees, be filed by the Corporation and the Tree Officer by the next date.” The old Banyan tree finds an ally in the Court On order of the Court, the Tree officer and the officials of the Forest Department inspected the site and confirmed that extensive damage had been caused to the tree. The Tree Officer suggested that the tree could be saved by removing the concrete, iron girders and building material around it and by filling manure rich earth around the tree to give it sustenance and stability. The court noting these observations directed the Tree Officer to promptly imitate all requisite measures to save the tree and to endeavor to nurture it to health. In a previous order, the Court had ordered the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to report to the Court its manner of monitoring the unauthorized constructions/deviations and to suggest corrective measures to be put in place. The Court had passed this order noting that the Executive Engineer from the Corporation who inspected the site had failed to notice the glaring damage and cutting off of the branches of the majestic old tree. The Court had stated “According to the learned counsel for Corporation, the existence of the tree was not intimated to the Corporation in the online application. Be that as it may, despite the site visit, the Executive Engineer seems to have not noticed the damage to the majestic old tree and that the deviations/building projections up to the tree trunk involved its huge branches been cut. The aforesaid affidavit is silent regarding this most glaring damage to the tree. It is too obvious to escape attention. This issue will be dealt with later.” The Court had thereby impleaded the Tree Officer of the Government of Delhi as a respondent in the petition asking him to look into the matter and to suggest appropriate action. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation informed the Court that in compliance of the previous order of the Court, dismantling of unauthorized construction at the site had been initiated by the Corporation, while seeking extension of time to report measures to restore the tree. Moreover, it stated that an enquiry had been initiated against the officers who might be responsible for the oversight/lapse apropos the aforesaid unauthorized construction, as well as for the damage caused to the tree, and that measures shall be taken against the architect of the Building Plan for his omission to mention the Banyan tree while seeking online sanction. The Court also noted the contention of the Government of Delhi that the builder was a repeat offender who had been previously fined Rs. 80, 000 for cutting an old peepal tree in the same location and that appropriate criminal law and action shall be taken against him by the Government in this regard. The Court stated Now again, having extensively cut and damaged the badh tree, displays the builder’s nefarious attitude towards trees and utter disregard to the law, as the builder did not even bother to seek the statutory permission from the Tree Officer to prune/cut the tree. Instead, the tree trunk was encircled with concrete for the past many months, perhaps to gradually ebb-out its life. The Court also noted that payment of aforesaid fine was disputed and ordered the parties to bring details of it on record before the next hearing. The Court has ordered all parties to file affidavits of compliance along with photographs and action taken reports before the Court by 13th August 2020 and to re-notify the Court on the said date.Click Here To Download Order[Read Order] Next Storylast_img read more