SC extends ban on felling of trees in Aarey

New Delhi/Mumbai: The Supreme Court on Friday extended the interim order by which it had stayed further cutting of trees in Mumbai's Aarey colony for setting up the Metro car shed.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said it will hear the matter at length in December.

On October 21, the top court had clarified that there is no stay on the construction of the Mumbai Metro car shed at Aarey Colony but the status quo order is only applicable on felling of trees there.

It had asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to submit a report on the number of trees cut, afforestation and trans-plantation being carried out in lieu of felling of trees at Mumbai's prominent green lung.

The civic body had assured the top court that no further felling of tree will be done in Aarey colony area and complete status quo will be maintained following the apex court's order.

The top court asked the BMC to submit a status report on the activities proposed in the Aarey forest area.

The top court also asked the Mumbai Metro to submit pictures of the afforestration, transplantation, measurement of girth and height of trees planted, and tree felling done in the area.

Mumbai Metro had claimed that they have transplanted over 5,000 of trees and assured the court that absolute status quo is being maintained with regard to felling of trees in the area. The felling of trees is being opposed by green activists and local residents.

The apex court had earlier directed that if anybody is still under arrest for protesting the cutting of trees, they should be released forthwith on furnishing of personal bonds.

The PIL petitioners had told the bench that the Aarey forest was deemed as an "unclassified forest" by the state government and felling of trees was illegal.