8 Nov 2023 10:27 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Delhi Government to issue within two weeks a notification declaring all un-encroached forest land in the national capital as reserved under Section 20 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927.Justice Jasmeet Singh said that in case the notification is not issued within the stipulated period, the Chief Secretary of Delhi Government shall be liable for...
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Delhi Government to issue within two weeks a notification declaring all un-encroached forest land in the national capital as reserved under Section 20 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927.
Justice Jasmeet Singh said that in case the notification is not issued within the stipulated period, the Chief Secretary of Delhi Government shall be liable for contempt action and a notice of contempt will be initiated against him.
This was after the court noted that there was non-compliance of an order passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on January 15, 2021, directing the Chief Secretary to ensure that the notification in question is issued within three months.
The court was informed that despite lapse of a long period of time, no notification has been issued yet by the government.
“In case the notification [under Section 10 of Indian Forest Act] is not issued within two weeks, the Chief Secretary of GNCTD shall be liable for contempt action and a notice of contempt will be framed against him,” the court said.
It further directed the Chief Secretary to appear personally through video conferencing on December 15, if the notification is not issued.
Justice Singh passed the order while hearing a batch of petitions concerning the issue of felling of trees and encroachment of forest land in the national capital.
One of the petitions has been filed by Bhavreen Kandhari seeking contempt action against the officials for not following court directions passed in April last year requiring the Tree Officers to spell out reasons for permitting the felling of trees in Delhi. The plea relates to the issue of preservation of trees in the national capital.
Earlier, the court had pulled up the city forest department for permitting felling of trees in the national capital, highlighting the recent issue of increasing level of air quality index.
In September, the court had passed an order saying that no permission shall be granted to anyone by the city authorities for felling of trees for construction of houses in the national capital.
Earlier, the Delhi Government had told court that no permission will be granted to any individual for felling of trees and that any permission required for important projects will be intimated to court.
In November last year, Retired Justice Najmi Waziri directed Delhi’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to ensure that the orders permitting the tree felling, under Delhi Preservation Of Trees Act, 1994, are uploaded within a period of 48 hours on the official website.
Case Title: BHAVREEN KANDHARI v. SHRI C. D. SINGH AND ORS. and other connected matters
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 1100