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The Delhi High Court on Monday (June 25) ordered that no tree shall be cut or brought down before the next date of hearing on the PIL seeking annulment of terms of reference (ToR) and environment clearances (EC) granted for cutting of trees for re-development of six South Delhi colonies by the Centre.

The bench comprising Justices Vinod Goel and Rekha Palli said: “We understand that you have to widen a road. You are building some of the residential complexes but can Delhi afford it today?”

During the course of the proceedings, the bench was informed by the respondents that NGT had already given verdict in the case granting permission for cutting of trees. And it can only be challenged in the NGT.

To which the bench asked: “When is the matter coming up.”

The respondents replied: “On July 2.”

The petitioner interjected by saying: “Without obtaining permission of Tree Officer who is appointed by the Delhi Government, they don’t have any right to cut the trees. NGT under the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act cannot give permission to cut trees.”

The bench said to the petitioner to first approach the NGT and if they can’t do anything, then challenge it. “Let the NGT first come to conclusion,” the bench said.

The bench said: “Everything is under the guidance of NGT. We will tell them not to do anything till July 2, 2018.”

The petitioner sought time to modify the writ petition to challenge the order passed by the tree authority.

The bench granted permission to the petitioner to challenge the order while directing the NBCC and CPWD not to cut any tree till the next date of hearing i.e. July 4.

—India Legal Bureau

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