New Delhi: A special bench of the Supreme Court will hear on Monday a plea submitted by a group of law students protesting against the felling of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony for construction of a metro car shed.
On Sunday, the court received a letter by the students’ group against the axing of trees in the Aarey forest, decided to pursue it as public interest litigation (PIL) and constituted a “special bench” to hear the matter.
“A special bench has been constituted to hear the matter tomorrow, October 7 at 10 am on the basis of a letter dated October 6 addressed by Rishav Ranjan with regard to the felling of trees in Aarey forest, Maharashtra which has been registered as a public interest litigation,” the court said in a notice on .
The hearing will take place at 10 am today.
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) started axing the trees on Friday night after the Bombay High Court rejected a bunch of petitions filed by NGOs and activists against the tree felling. Resolved to save the trees, many protestors gathered at the site to raise their voice against the felling of trees. Later, more people joined the protestors near the Aarey colony area, where the Mumbai Police imposed Section 144, thereby banning unlawful assembly.
The protesters have been demanding the relocation of the bus depot, which is a part of the Metro III project.
The police had detained at least 84 protestors for allegedly disturbing public order and obstructing government officials from performing their duties. Twenty-nine out of 84 protestors were sent to five-day judicial custody by a local court on Saturday. The 29 protestors were granted bail on Sunday by Dindoshi court on a cash bond of Rs 7,000 each and asked to appear at the police station for further inquiry.
Leaders from various political parties including Shiv Sena and Congress have condemned the move to fell the trees.
On October 5, the Bombay High Court had refused to entertain urgent mentioning by Aarey activists to stay the ongoing tree cutting.