Delhi High Court Halts Tree Felling in Central Ridge, Demands Garbage Cleanup

In a landmark ruling, the Delhi High Court, in the case of Anjali College of Pharmacy and Science Through Its Founder -Cum-Chairman Devendra Gupta vs. Dr. Montu M. Patel President Pharmacy Council of India & Anr. has issued a directive prohibiting any further deforestation or clearance of vegetation in the Central Ridge area of the national capital without prior authorization from the Court.

Additionally, the Court has mandated the Forest Department and other local authorities to ensure that no waste dumping occurs in the Central Ridge, underscoring the significance of preserving this vital ecological zone.

Justice Mini Pushkarna has ordered the swift removal of all garbage and waste materials from the Central Ridge. This ridge, spanning 864 hectares, lies within the Northern Aravalli leopard wildlife corridor in Delhi. Designated as a Reserved Forest since 1914, it extends from just south of Sadar Bazaar to Dhaula Kuan, featuring historical landmarks like Malcha Mahal, a Tuglaq era hunting lodge.

Despite assurances from forest officials, extensive deforestation and land clearance persist in the Central Ridge. Visual evidence presented to the court reveals not only tree loss but also extensive burning, leaving barren land in its wake.

The court highlighted extensive garbage dumping in the Central Ridge, deeming it a grave concern. It emphasized that the ridge must not degrade further through tree felling and shrub removal, especially amid the city’s escalating pollution crisis. Justice Pushkarna lamented the misuse of the Central Ridge, a cherished green heritage, as a dumping site for waste materials.

Noting the Central Ridge’s significance in providing greenery and maintaining environmental balance in Delhi, the court issued an order. It demanded an explanation from the Forest Department regarding the negligence leading to tree felling and waste dumping in the area.

This directive came during a contempt plea hearing where Amicus Curiae, Advocates Gautam Narayan, and Aditya N Prasad, raised concerns about tree planting directions in the capital. The case is scheduled for further hearing on May 24.

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About the Author: Payal Singh