Tree felling in Aarey forest: Supreme Court reprimands Mumbai Metro for ‘overreach’ and imposes a Rs 10 lakh fine

Monday, the Supreme Court reprimanded the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) for attempting to “overreach” its earlier order permitting the corporation to pursue the felling of 84 trees in Aarey forest for a Metro car shed project. The court ordered the corporation to pay a penalty of Rs 10 lakh.

In an order dated November 29, 2022, the highest court authorised MMRCL to approach the tree authority for the felling of the trees. In its application to the authority, MMRCL requested the felling of more trees than the Supreme Court’s order permitted. This request was approved.

On Monday, a three-judge bench, presided by Chief Justice of India Dy Chandrachud and consisting of Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala, deemed MMRCL’s action “inappropriate” and added that “if circumstances had occurred that led to a variation in the number of trees to be cut, the only proper course of action would have been to approach this court.”

The bench, however, refused to stay the tree authorities’ March 15, 2023 order permitting the felling of 124 trees and transplanting of 53 trees (a total of 177 trees).

The highest court stated, “Such an order would bring the public project to a halt.” This course of action would not be recommended. As the court noted in its previous order, significant progress has already been made by removing more than 2,000 trees for the endeavour. In light of the foregoing, we modify the previous order to permit MMRCL to comply with the order dated March 15, 2023.

It stated, “We are therefore of the opinion that the court should sanction MMRCL for its conduct.”

The court clarified that this is contingent upon the corporation meeting certain requirements.

“MMRCL shall deposit Rs 10 lakhs with the Chief Conservator of Forests within two weeks… The conservator of forests must ensure that all afforestation instructions contained in previous orders from the tree authorities have been complied with… “The conservator of forests shall report to this court on the status of compliance with respect to the afforestation directives,” it added.


Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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