No tree will be felled for defence expo, UP govt assures SC

Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde
Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde

New Delhi, Jan 9 : The Uttar Pradesh government informed the Supreme Court on Thursday it is not considering felling early 64,000 trees for a defence exhibition scheduled in Lucknow.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant, recorded the statement of the advocates appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government stating the government has already shelved the plan to cut trees, and not a single tree has been felled so far in order to facilitate the arrangements for the defence expo.

Sheela Barse, an environment activist, had moved the apex court seeking a direction to the UP government to shelve its plan to cut-down thousands of trees. The top court asked the petitioner to move the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court. Barse sought declaration of the inter-generational equity rights of trees and also recognition of the trees as living entities, which are entitled to rights.

The court noted that the High Court is already seized of a similar matter, and the petitioner is at the liberty to place the matter before it. Barse, in her plea, said the unmindful felling of trees is devastating to nature; it is against inter-generational equity and against the right to life and existence of not just humans but other living beings including trees and the entire living beings dependent on such vegetation.

In December, the apex court had asked the Uttar Pradesh to respond on this plea. The 11th biennial edition of DefExpo India-2020 is slated in February, and it is taking place in Lucknow for the first time.

The plea had cited various media reports which detailed on government’s plan to fell 64,000 trees on the banks of river Gomti for DefExpo-2020. She said according to various reports the UP government planned to clear the entire area for the exhibition by January 15, 2020, and then the land will be given to exhibition’s organisers.

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