Court News Updates

Supreme Court seeks response on NGO plea alleging harassment by Delhi Police in DDA tree felling case

The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Delhi Police on an application accusing its officers of harassing petitioners, including Delhi-based NGO Nature Society, in a matter related to felling of over 633 trees by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

A bench comprising Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Augustine George Masih was told that the police were making enquiries in relation to the petitioners and had even sought details regarding their bank accounts. Issuing a notice to the Delhi Police, the Court said that they will look into the matter.

Senior Advocate Gopal Sankarnarayan represented the NGO. Notably, the allegation has been made days after DDA was pulled up by the apex court for its failure to disclose information regarding Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) Vinai Kumar Saxena’s visit to the site where trees were felled.

The court in May had initiated a suo motu contempt of court case against DDA Vice-Chairman Subhasish Panda for felling of trees in violation of the Court's orders in February this year. Earlier, the DDA had filed an application for permission to cut the trees, but went ahead with the action without any court order in hand.

In an order dated May 16, the Court stated that the DDA was fully aware that without permission from this Court, not a single tree could be touched, and, therefore, the application for permission to fell 1051 trees was made. It ruled that by completely violating the law and orders of the Court, pending the application, the work of felling trees was started and was completed.

Furthermore, on June 24, the top court took cognisance that LG Saxena in his capacity as Chairman of the DDA had approved the proposal for cutting of trees and also visited the site in question. The apex court had then directed the Vice-Chairman of DDA to apprise it whether there was any record of the LG's visit.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the matter next on July 12.