A special bench has been constituted to hear pleas against the felling of trees at Aarey colony in Maharashtra on Monday after the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the matter.
The development comes in the wake of a letter to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi by a Delhi based law student urging the court to intervene in the matter. The court decided to treat it as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL). In the letter, the law student urged the court to stay the decision of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to axe trees in the Aarey colony area of Mumbai in Maharashtra.
Earlier in the day, a sessions court in Mumbai granted bail to 29 protesters on the assurance that they would not take part in protests. However, the protesters are unlikely to walk out of the Thane jail, where most of them are currently lodged.
Supreme Court will hear special petition on tree felling at Aarey Colony on October 7. An application was made by Delhi based law student Rishav Ranjan before SC for urgent hearing on Sunday.#AareyProtest #AareyForest #Aarey #Mumbai @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/kwVg6ulkij
— laxman singh (@Laxmantweetsss) October 6, 2019
The arrests were made over Friday night and Saturday after clashes broke out between the police and green activists opposing axing of trees by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) in Aarey Colony. The trees are being felled to make way for a metro rake depot after the Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed a clutch of petitions challenging the Mumbai civic body’s order for chopping the trees.
The HC on Saturday refused to grant a stay on the felling of trees.
Police imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Aarey, restricting movements and gathering of groups, on Saturday, which was extended on Sunday as well. At least 38 protesters were booked under IPC sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from duty) and 143 (unlawful assembly).
Meanwhile, Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar was detained when he tried to enter the Aarey Colony here in support of the activists. Nearly 2700 trees are being cut in the area for the purpose of a metro shade.