A vacation bench of Justices Sandeep Shinde and Sarang Kotwal was hearing applications filed by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, and environmental activist Zoru Bhatena seeking various reliefs related to the tree authority.
The high court had, in October last year, restrained the tree authority from taking any decision on applications to cut trees until it had independent experts as nominated members.
Last week, the BMC had informed the court that the present tree authority has four experts.
Bhatena, however, took objection to this and said the tree authority had 15 councillors or corporators and just four experts.
He argued the BMC must include an equal number of experts as councillors to ensure permissions for felling trees were not granted indiscriminately.
The bench then noted that the civic body was bound by the high court order.
"In larger public interest and to safeguard the environment, you (BMC) should either increase the number of experts or decrease the corporators in the tree authority," the court said.
"Without there being any assistance from experts, how do you (BMC) propose to decide applications (seeking to cut trees)," Justice Shinde asked.
MMRCL lawyer G W Mattos told the court that it was suffering financial losses because of the court's decision restraining the BMC from taking any decision on cutting of trees in suburban Aarey area for the proposed Metro car shed and some allied works.
"The MMRCL is suffering a loss of Rs 4.38 crore per day," Mattos said.
The court then noted that it was not against any public project, but its only anxiety was that due process of law needs to be followed.
The bench has posted the applications for further hearing on May 22.
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