Delhi High Court: To utilize Rs. 80 lakhs that were deposited in the Court as costs that were imposed on the defaulting litigants, a Single Judge Bench of Najmi Waziri, J. opined that these monies were to be utilized for larger public good and the plantation of trees was one such exercise which the Court would consider because trees would incessantly and silently provide multiple benefits to the city.
About Rs. 80 lakhs were deposited in the Court as costs that were imposed on the defaulting litigants in scores of contempt petitions and writ petitions, etc. The Court opined that these monies were to be utilized for larger public good and the plantation of trees was one such exercise which the Court would consider because trees, for as long as they were alive, be it for decades or for centuries, would incessantly and silently provide multiple benefits to the city; provided however, that people and the landowning agencies do not interfere in or hinder their growth. The benefit that trees would provide to generations of residents of Delhi, by way of fresh oxygen would be immeasurable. They would also serve as carbon sump, to absorb in some measure the atmospheric pollution which plagues the city all year round. Additionally, they would lend the beauty and grace of the city and provide a soothing ambience to every passerby.
It was directed in the Order dated 24-5-2023, that over Rs. 70 lakhs were to be transferred into the bank account of the Deputy Conservator of Forests (‘DCF’), Govt. (NCT of Delhi). The Court directed that the said monies should be utilized by the DCK with the assistance of PWD, Govt. (NCT of Delhi) to plant trees. The Court further appointed (a) Shadan Farasat, ASC; (b) Avishkar Singhvi, ASC, Govt. (NCT of Delhi); (c) Tushar Sannu, Standing Counsel, North Delhi Municipal Corporation (d) Aditya N. Prasad; and (e) Atul Bhuchar as the Court Commissioners and directed that each should have at least 2500 trees planted. The Court further directed that the local police should assist the DCF and the Court Commissioners in the plantation exercise.
The Court opined that depending upon the soil type and topography, the DCF might consider planting the following variety of trees, along with PWD/MCD roads: (a) Pilkhan; (b)Papdi/Chudail Papdi; (c) Kachnaar; (d) Goolar; (e) Kala Siris/Safed Siris; (f) Jamun; (g) Amaltas; (h) Kadamb; and (i) Badh.
The Court further directed that each tree should have a minimum of three-years’ nursery-age and a minimum trunk height of 10 feet and from Rs. 70 lakhs, at least 10,000 trees should be planted.
The Court directed that the land-owning agency shall plant the trees under the supervision of Tree Officer/DCF, Govt. (NCT of Delhi) and in case of any attrition of the trees or any damage to them, the land-owning agency should promptly remedy the situation with the advice of the Tree Officer and keep the Court Commissioners informed with photographs.
The case would next be listed on 7-7-2023.
[New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Himanshu Sharma, Mac. App. 978 of 2018, Order dated 29-5-2023]