Friday, July 19, 2024

HC directs planting 10K trees across Delhi using money deposited by defaulting litigants

Observing that trees act as a “carbon sump” by absorbing pollution that affects the city throughout the year, the Delhi High Court directed the plantation of 10,000 trees across the national capital, utilising over Rs 70 lakh that has been deposited by defaulting litigants as costs in various cases.

“About Rs 80 lakh was deposited in the court as costs that were imposed on defaulting litigants in scores of contempt and writ petitions, etc. These monies are to be utilised for larger public good,” Justice Najmi Waziri said.

The court stated that funds deposited in the court should be used for greater public good, and appointed four lawyers — Shadan Farasat, Avishkar Singhvi, Tushar Sannu and Aditya N Prasad — as court commissioners to identify suitable locations for the tree plantation drive, preferably along public roads.

The judge observed that trees provide numerous benefits to the city and its residents, not only by absorbing pollution but also by enhancing the city’s beauty and grace.

The court ordered that the funds be transferred to the bank account of the Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF), GNCTD (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi), who, with the assistance of the Public Works Department (PWD), will oversee the planting of trees in designated areas identified by the court commissioners.

Each court commissioner has been tasked with planting a minimum of 2,500 trees, with a nursery age of at least three years and a minimum trunk height of 10 feet.

A total of 10,000 trees should be planted usinbg the allocated funds, the judge said.

The court suggested several tree species, including pilkhan, papdi, kachnaar, goolar, kala siris/safed siris, jamun, amaltas, kadamb, and badh, based on soil type and topography, and said that the land-owning agency will be responsible for planting the trees under the supervision of the tree officer/DCF.

In the event of any tree attrition or damage, the judge said, the land-owning agency should promptly address the situation with the guidance of the tree officer and keep the court commissioners informed through photographs.

The court also asked the police to assist the DCF and court commissioners in the plantation process.

Furthermore, the court sought a status report on the drive every six months from the DCF and listed the case for next hearing on July 7.

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