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Keywords- Delhi High Court, Tree Pruning, Permission, Tree Officer.

The Court has set aside guidelines that had allowed the pruning of trees in Delhi with a girth of up to 15.7 cm without the permission of the Tree Officer.

The Delhi High Court recently clarified that obtaining permission from the Tree Officer is mandatory under the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994 (DPT Act) before pruning trees in Delhi, irrespective of their girth size. The court overturned guidelines that allowed pruning of tree branches up to 15.7 cm without prior permission. Justice Najmi Waziri stated that the guidelines were in conflict with the DPT Act and deemed them arbitrary and illegal. The court emphasized that the only valid permission for pruning is granted under Section 9 of the Act and set aside the guidelines in question.

The court’s decision came in response to a petition filed by Professor Dr. Sanjeev Bagai and others challenging an order by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The petition sought directions on the procedure for tree pruning and argued that the issued guidelines were flawed. The petitioners contended that the guidelines allowed pruning without proper approval, inspections, or assessments by the Tree Officer/Deputy Conservator of Forests. Furthermore, the guidelines permitted private parties to prune trees, even on government-owned land belonging to entities like the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), and the Public Works Department (PWD).

Justice Waziri emphasized the importance of giving trees a final inspection before granting permission for felling or pruning live branches, considering them as living beings. The court examined evidence presented by the petitioners, which showcased instances of misuse of the permissions granted under the guidelines. It criticized the lack of scientific methodology specified in the guidelines for measuring the pruning within the prescribed girth size, deeming it estimation and guesswork.

Various advocates represented the involved parties in the case, with Senior Advocate Vivek Sibal leading the representation for the petitioners and Additional Standing Counsel Shadan Farasat appearing for the Delhi government. Advocate Aditya N Prasad acted as Amicus Curiae, assisted by advocate Harsh Vardhan. The MCD, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, and Department of Environment were also represented in the case.

Source- https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/pruning-trees-permission-tree-officer-delhi-high-court

Written by- Anjali Sudha, College name – Haridev law college, Kashipur., Semester- 6th sem an intern under Legal Vidhiya


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