Himachal court stays tree felling permissions


Hearing a petition on illegal felling of trees within the municipal jurisdictions of the state capital, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday stayed all permissions of felling or lopping of trees, except the permissions granted to the state Electricity Department.

A division bench of Chief Justice L. Narayana Swamy and Justice Anoop Chitkara passed the order on a petition treating it as public interest litigation.

The petitioner highlighted the issue of illegal felling of green trees by violating provisions of the Forest Conservation Act and the Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act and also violating directions passed by various courts.

The petitioner prayed to quash and set aside the permissions granted by the Tree Authority Committee for felling of trees and also to set aside notification regarding constitution of the Cabinet sub-committee to decide and dispose of all matter of felling of trees.

The petitioner also prayed to hold an impartial and independent inquiry as to whether convincing and cogent reasons were recorded, photography and videography was conducted while processing the applications and environment clearance was obtained.

Listing the matter for next hearing on May 12, the court directed the state to give information about the cases where felling took place, where felling orders expired without any tree felling of trees, where felling orders were renewed after expiry and where permissions were not renewed.