Aarey Protest: Supreme Court says to not cut any more trees

Supreme Court says to not cut any more trees. Next hearing is on October 21

Aarey Protest: Supreme Court says to not cut any more trees

The special bench of Supreme Court while hearing the case granted a stay on felling of trees. Supreme Court said, that there is nothing that can be done in regards to whatever trees have been cut, but there will be no more cutting of trees [legally].  They also added that "It appears to us that it was some kind of forest at some time" and also asked lawyers to not just cite media statement but actual proofs of Aarey being a forest. The special bench said to the lawyers, "It was a no-development zone but not an eco-sensitive zone. This is what we get. If you say otherwise, show us the documents".

The SC also ordered the Mumbai police to release all the activists who were arrested over the past 2 days, if they had not been released yet.

The next hearing on this matter will be by Supreme Court's Forest Bench on October 21.

Supreme Court gave this decision as it began hearing the petitions demanding stay on the trees being felled in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony, a day after it agreed to a special sitting by converting a representation by a group of law students into a Public Interest Litigation.

Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) started the chopping in Aarey area in the bid to make the car shed for the Metro 3 line. The protestors and activists gathered in large numbers to protest against this move and trying to stop the authorities from doing so.

As per the activists' claim, the trees are being cut illegally. As per the rules, the trees cannot be cut post-sunset. They also said that as per the rules, after the tree committee gives a go-ahead to the cutting of the trees, the order has to be uploaded on a government website and the trees can be cut 15 days after posting the permission on the website. While the latter is being contested by the Metro authorities, there is no clarity on why the Metro officials wanted to chop down the trees in the middle of the night.

Activists have been protesting against this act since the night of October 4, following which section 144 has been imposed in Aarey and surrounding areas. Section 144 of CrPC bans unlawful assembly of people. This continued to be in effect all through Sunday. Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing section 144 had been lifted. 

Despite the fact that most of the trees were cut by October 5, activist continued to protest even on Sunday October 6, throughout Mumbai.

There are many political parties such as Indian National Congres, AAP and Shiv Sena that have expressed discontent over the cutting of trees.