Pune, October 18, 2019: Two law students today filed complaint with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against SP College, Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for cutting trees on the college ground ahead of election rally by Prime Minister Narendra Modi .
The petitioners have sought directions to immediately set commission to enquire the said tree felling activity, written apology before the NGT mentioning that they will not indulge in any such activities in future. They have also demanded directions may be given which will applicable throughout India that in any political rally or public meeting no one is allowed to cut trees without following due process of law.
The petitioners have further asked for fine of Rs 15 Lakh each may be imposed on SP College and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Pune and direct them to deposit the said amount in the account of ‘Tree Authority’ Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) which will be utilized for preservation of trees in Pune region area.
Madan Gorakshanath Kurhe (23), student of Shankarrao Chavan Law College Pune, and Bodhi Sham Ramteke (21), student of ILS Law College Pune, filed the petition through Adv Asim Sarode and Adv Parikrama Khot.
Kurhe is alumni of Sir Parashurambhau College (in short “SP College”) and after completion of HSC from SP College he is pursuing his Law studies from Shankarrao Chavan Law College. He is involvedin different socio-legal activities. Ramteke is student of ILS Law College. He is ‘Samata Fellowship’ Awardee and doing various activities to promote Constitutional Values.
Sir Parashurambhau College (S.P. College) is an autonomous (since 2019-20) college in Pune, Maharashtra, India. It was established in 1916 as New Poona College at the hands of the British Governor Lord Willington. The college was renamed as Sir Parashurambhau College as a mark of gratitude towards the then ruler of Jamkhandi State who donated Rs. Two lakhs in the memory of his father, Parashurambhau Patwardhan. The college is governed by Shikshan Prasarak Mandali, a private
education society in Maharashtra.
As per the petition, on 14th October fully grown up trees were chopped off at SP College less than two days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit the campus on 17th October as part of his rallies ahead of Maharashtra Assembly elections. The trees were chopped off under full police protection no one was allowed to enter the premises at that time. There was an irony under ‘Earn and Learn’ scheme so the SP College Administration promoted the students to plant the tress.
It further added students planted it and taken care for their proper growth since last 1-2 years and now college cut and fell down all these trees planted. The SP College Authority and the Organizers of the rally/Public Meeting Bharaiya Janata Party have not taken the permission from the concern Tree Authority which is mandatory before cutting any trees under The Maharashtra (Urban areas)Preservation Act,1975.
The petition stated, “The present application is regarding the damage caused already to environment and to stop further such damage to environment and ecology by mighty political people, by Powerful Educational Institutions and by persons having muscle and mafia powers. It is not at all important subject as to what species of trees but actually no tree is allowed to cut without due process of law. It is also fact that every tree produces oxygen. Hence the statement made in justification by the Respondent – S.P. College Management that those were just Babul Trees is definitely insensitive.
“A very large greenery area has been destroyed by the respondents just because of political rally/Public Meeting. Most of the trees have been planted by the students and they have taken due care by watering and keeping watch in the scheme of ‘Earn and Learn’,” the petition concluded.
Earlier, the college had claimed that the trees were cut after getting permission from the tree authority of PMC, after following due procedure.