Why should DDA VC not be prosecuted for criminal contempt of court, asks SC over tree felling in Delhi's Ridge area

New Delhi, May 16 The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) Vice Chairperson as to why he should not be prosecuted for criminal contempt of court for wilful breach of its orders prohibiting felling of trees in Delhi's Ridge area.

A bench, headed by Justice Abhay S. Oka, remarked that the DDA Vice Chairperson misled the Lt Governor, the ex-officio Chairperson, by forwarding a proposal to set up a committee of experts to minimise the trees felled.

Stressing that 100 new trees for one tree felled have to be planted by the DDA, the bench, also comprising Justice Ujjal Bhuyan, asked the LG to take the issue seriously.

The apex court ordered the Delhi Ridge Management Board to be impleaded as a party to the proceedings and put the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on notice.

On Thursday, it summoned the Director General of the CPWD and DDA Vice Chairperson to be present in person.

"We direct that the respondents shall not indulge in any further tree felling and status quo as of today shall be maintained in respect of the property subject matter of these contempt petitions," the SC ordered.

The contempt pleas alleged that a large number of trees in the ridge had been felled there by the DDA to construct an approach road between the Chhattarpur Road and the SAARC University near Maidan Garhi.

In an earlier order, the top court had said that other areas having morphological ridges were required to be protected and no permission for construction should be given there.

Source: IANS

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