Explained: Delhi Preservation Of Trees Act (DPTA), 1994 And Rules On Tree Pruning

The Delhi High Court has stayed the pruning of more than 800 trees in the Vasant Vihar neighbourhood of Delhi, overturning an order by the National Green Tribunal. 

The High Court ruled that a more detailed assessment should be carried out before the trees are trimmed, citing guidelines issued by the Delhi Government’s Department of Forests & Wildlife in 2019. These guidelines were referred to in the NGT’s original order.

The plea challenged an NGT order that stated that any necessary tree pruning would be carried out by the civic authorities, MCD or DDA, in accordance with the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act (DPTA) and guidelines issued by the Tree Authority for Pruning of Trees. 

The order was issued in the case of Professor Dr. Sanjeev Bagai & Ors. vs. Department of Environment GNCTD & Ors on January 19.

The dispute arose when the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered the pruning of trees in a Delhi colony. However, some argued that the pruning of around 800 trees was contrary to the provisions of the DPTA. 

They claimed that it was impossible for the tree officer to have inspected all the trees and ensured that only those with branches of less than 15.7 cm in circumference were pruned. They also contended that the procedures laid down under Section 9 of the Act were not followed, making the pruning illegal.

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The Delhi Preservation of Trees Act (DPTA), 1994

The Delhi Preservation of Trees Act (DPTA) of 1994 is legislation that provides legal protection to trees in Delhi, India. The Act aims to prevent any action that might harm the growth or regeneration of trees. 

As per the act, a tree is defined as any woody plant that has branches supported by a trunk or body of at least 5cm diameter and is at least one meter high from the ground level.

The Act prohibits several activities that can cause the death of a tree, such as cutting, uprooting, bulldozing, girdling, and pollarding. Applying arboricides, burning, or damaging a tree in any other manner that can lead to its death is also considered illegal under the Act.

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