& MSRJ: / 24.7.03 Writ Appeal 8178/99
The learned Government Advocate has filed the affidavit of the Chief Secretary to Government and we need to record that we appreciate the fact that the State Government has respected and accepted the suggestions put forward by this court with regard to the general preservation and rejuvenation of the green cover in this state. What is even better is the fact that the Chief Secretary has also stated that the necessary amendments will be made in the rules, statutes etc. And furthermore that necessary instructions will be issued to the various authorities, and that if necessary even through executive action that the Directions of this Court will be implemented. This is a step very much in the right direction and we need to record that it also shows that the government is not only acting responsibly but that it is also concerned about the vital issues that have been indicated by us. In consonance with this, it will only be in the fitness of things since this is part of the year conducive to put down the saplings which is normally done, that the state government forthwith issues necessary instructions to the various departments who are incharge of the different newly constructed highways around Bangalore city and the projects that are under way particularly the Bangalore –Mysore road where extensive tree felling has taken place recently which has resulted in a very strong public protest. The government shall issue immediate instructions to the Highways and Forest departments that within the next one week immediate steps be undertaken on a war footing to replace all the trees through properly selected saplings along with necessary safeguards so that all of these can take root during the ensuing monsoon and can then be looked after suitably during the period that follows it. This is an immediate and necessary step and we would like the government to report compliance on the next date of hearing in keeping with the Supreme Court Orders, the replacements will have to be in the ratio of 2 new trees for each one removed. We shall personally visit and inspect all the highways in question and penal action will follow against the officers if there is non-compliance in any single area. Also there will have to be a complete stop to tree felling until the replacements come first.
2. Coming to the present case, the respondents’ learned Advocate has filed an affidavit in which he has put forward suggestion that a small committee be set up consisting of the officers of the Government of India and the State Government representing the departments such as National Highways, P.W.D., Forest Department, Revenue Department etc, and that this committee should be requested to examine the various aspects and suggest a viable solution. Learned government Advocate submitted that the setting up of committees invariably takes time and secondly, that the committees have their own limitations and the reports / suggestions of the committees will invariably result in another debate rendering the whole matter inconclusive. His submission was that even if it is a question of having to do a local inspection that the court with the assistance of the learned Advocates and the officers could undertake this task, which would help in expediting the matter. We do appreciate his suggestions, which we consider to be more practical and we have accordingly indicated to the learned Advocates that the two learned Judges will ensure that they come to Mysore and that they will carry out a local inspection at 11 A.M. on 6-8-03. The officers of the concerned departments should remain present. It would be vary necessary that the learned government Advocate and the learned Advocate representing the appellants are present because this is an official inspection and their presence is absolutely necessary. They, in turn, will ensure that all the concerned officers are also present at that time because the entire operation is not likely to take more than one hour.
3. This appeal be relisted for further hearing on 12.8.03 at 2.30 P.M. Copy of this order to be furnished to learned Advocates forthwith. O.A. to forward the came to the Chief Secretary.