The Order had come in the form of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a bunch of law students in Uttar Pradesh. The petition sought direction from NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) and the Uttar Pradesh Government to cut the minimum number of trees during the road development activities.
Facts of the Case:
The matter before the High Court of Allahabad was that the trees coming in the way to widen the road for the development of areas in the city of Prayagraj and other areas were being cut. The matter had come up in a recent remark made by the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde in another case relating to the UP Government. Where it had been stated that instead of cutting trees in the name of development, roads should be designed to turn around the trees.
Hence the writ of mandamus had been filed by the law students which sought:
- Direction to the UP Government and NHAI to provide an entire scheme of reallocation of trees. Additionally, to issue a proper chart about the number of trees cut down and the number of trees planted along with the area.
- Direction to the authorities to prepare a scheme and apply the technique so that minimum trees are cut.
- Direction to the District Magistrate and Divisional Forest Officer of Prayagraj not to grant permission for cutting or felling of trees until preparation of a proper scheme.
- Compliance with the Supreme Court‘s directions in TN Godavarman Thirumulpad v. Union of India & Ors., (2013)11 SCC 466 where it had been directed to NHAI to plant twice the number of trees for every tree uprooted or cut.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery had directed NHAI to submit a detailed report of all the roads going from Prayagraj to other cities. Meanwhile, the Court had also assured that until the complete plan for plantation of trees is submitted, no permission shall be granted to NHAI to execute any project in the State. The matter would be next heard on February 3, 2021.