Monday, March 27, 2023

Delhi HC orders NDMC to remove structure around 300-yr-old Chandni Chowk tree

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has directed the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and the tree Officer to remove unauthorized construction and concrete around an old banyan tree in the Chandni Chowk area of Old Delhi.

The Single judge bench of Justice Najmi Waziri, heard the petition filed by Nitin Gupta, seeking a stay on the unauthorized construction around a 300 year-old tree by the builder and also its restoration.

Expressing his anguish and displeasure, Wazri said photographs show the “horrific” condition of the “grand old tree, which has seen the unfolding of the city”.

“How can you do this to a 300-year-old tree? It has existed even before the Britishers could even think of coming to India. It is a part of the heritage of this city. How can you damage it in this manner?” Wazri said.

The bench observed: “The living entity has been a mute and patient spectator to the unfolding of history in the city of Delhi for the past three centuries. However, the builder failed to appreciate this invaluable heritage in its courtyard.”

 Chandni Chowk
Chandni Chowk

The bench having regard for the small number of trees in Chandni Chowk  which require protection, has directed the corporation and the Tree Officer to conduct a tree census of all the identified trees in the area and to submit a compilation of the same before the court.

The counsel appearing for the Delhi government also informed the court 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 urged the court to initiate appropriate criminal proceedings against him.

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The bench has ordered the parties to place on record the details of the fine imposed on the builder since it was disputed. All the parties have been directed to file their compliance report before August 13.

– India Legal Bureau

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