The Supreme Court said on Tuesday the matter pertaining to the felling of trees at Mumbai's Aarey Colony, the site for a metro car shed project, will come up for hearing on November 2.
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) had on August 5 this year told the apex court that no trees have been cut in Aarey colony since October 2019.
On August 24, the top court had directed the MMRCL to strictly abide by its undertaking that no trees will be cut there and warned that any violation would result in strict action.
The matter was mentioned on Tuesday before a bench comprising Chief Justice U U Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi.
The counsel, who mentioned the case, told the bench that earlier the top court had indicated the matter would be heard finally.
The counsel said the work for the metro car shed is continuing, and as a result, the court may be presented with a fate accompli.
"Let it be listed on November 4," the bench said.
The counsel told the bench the matter is likely to be listed on November 2. "Then, November 2," the bench said.
"As prayed for, let this matter be not deleted from the notified date," the apex court said in its order.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for MMRCL, had told the top court in August he had made a statement before the apex court in October 2019 that no further cutting of trees will be done for the project and after that no trees have been felled.
The top court was then hearing an application that alleged the authorities have resumed cutting down trees in the colony, the green lung of the congested metropolitan city.
The apex court had in 2019 taken suo motu (on its own) cognisance of a letter petition addressed to the Chief Justice of India by law student Rishav Ranjan seeking a stay on the felling of trees in the colony.
The apex court had restrained the authorities from felling any more trees after the Solicitor General submitted on behalf of the State of Maharashtra that no further trees will be mowed down.
The felling of trees in the colony has been opposed by green activists and residents.
In their first cabinet meeting held hours after coming to power, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis had taken the first step towards overturning the previous Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government's decision of relocating the proposed car shed project from Aarey Colony.
Incidentally, Thackeray, immediately after becoming the chief minister in November 2019, had announced a stay on the construction of the proposed project and later ordered it shifted to Kanjurmarg.
The Bombay High Court in October 2019 refused to declare Aarey Colony a forest and declined to quash the Mumbai municipal corporation's decision to allow the felling of over 2,600 trees in the green zone to set up the metro car shed.
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