HC seeks Centre, Delhi's response on plea for policy to remove trees (Lead, Correcting headline)

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New Delhi : The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Central and Delhi governments to file reply on a plea seeking to frame comprehensive guideline and policy for removal of trees and to form a committee of experts to conduct a macro Environmental Impact Assessment.

A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar asked the two governments to file response on the plea seeking formulation of a comprehensive guideline for the removal of trees for future projects based on the principles of sustainable development and intergenerational equity, and public trust doctrine.

The court has listed the matter for further hearing on August 16, the next date when the bench will hear plea filed by orthopaedic surgeon Kaushal Kant Mishra, who challenged the permission granted to cut trees for the residential project.

The bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by an advocate Rohit Kumar and Ph.D student of Jamia Milia Islamia Abhishek Gupta filed through lawyer Prashant Shandilya, who has sought protection of ecology of Delhi for maintaining and sustaining the natural water cycle and to keep a check on the rapid desertification.

The petitioner has sought to constitute a committee of science experts which may be consist of climate scientists, water experts and forest conservation experts to conduct a macro Environmental Impact Assessment considering all possible environmental degradation related to and incidental with the cutting and felling of trees for ongoing and future projects.

The petitioner said that one of the major reasons attributable to these climatic changes may be the alteration of Delhi's overall ecosystem caused due the loss of natural vegetation and rapid urbanization.

This continuous degradation has also adversely impacted the water cycle of Delhi, the plea said, adding that trees play a vital role in maintaining the natural environment, and in the in absence of trees, many ecological processes cannot take place.