New Delhi: The Supreme court on Sunday has taken suo moto cognizance and has formed a special bench to hear the case tomorrow related to cutting of trees in Mumbai's Aarey colony.
The apex court website posted a notice about holding an urgent hearing, stating, "Take notice that a special bench has been constituted to hear the matter tomorrow i.e October 7, 2019 at 10.00 AM on the basis of a letter dated October 6, 2019 addressed by Rishav Ranjan with regard to felling of trees in Aarey forest, state of Maharashtra which has been registered as a public interest litigation".
The Supreme Court is closed for the Dussehra break for one week, hence the letter has been uploaded in the name of vacation officer. A two judge division bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and comprising of Justice Ashok Bhushan shall hear the case on Monday.
Meanwhile, on Sunday a sessions court in Mumbai granted bail to the 29 protesters, who were arrested while protesting against the axing of the trees by the authorities in Aarey colony for construction of a metro car shed.
The protestors were arrested for allegedly disturbing public order and obstructing government officials from performing their duties.
The vacation judge bench of the sessions court in Mumbai granted conditional bail restricting them to not participate in the protest further. The Additional session court judge H C Shende had also asked the accused-arresred protestors to produce personal surety amounting to ₹7,000
There had been reports in the morning today that a group of law students led by one Rishabh Ranjan have written to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi to intervene in the matter of cutting trees at Aarey and sought directions for granting urgent stay in felling of trees. They were inclined to meet the CJI today but since he was out of town they could not meet him.
The Bombay High Court had on Saturday rejected the application moved by environmental activists seeking a stay on the felling of trees at Aarey Colony.
Several politicians had also extended their support to activists protesting against the feeling of trees. Shiv Sena, a partner of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state, had sided with the activists.
The state government is looking to construct a shed at the site for its ongoing metro project. The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. has defended tree felling by contending that it is restricted only to a small area in Aarey Colony, and is necessary to ensure a modern transport system for Mumbaikars.
The Aarey colony, measuring 1,287 hectares and located adjoining to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, is known as a major green lung of the metropolis.