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Tree Authorities in Goa have not worked for a decade: HC

Panaji: Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court issued directions to pave way for the proper functioning of the Tree Authorities in both the districts of Goa. These authorities were set up under the Goa, Daman and Diu preservation of Trees Act, 1984. It was noted by the Court that the two authorities had not worked actively at all for about a decade now.

While hearing a petition filed by the NGO Living Heritage Fountain, a Division Bench comprising Justices MS Sonak and MS Jawalkar gave the directions. The petitioners informed the court about the Tree Authorities for both North and South Goa being defunct from the date of the enactment of the Trees Act in 1984, or in any case, from November 2012, the date on which the two authorities came to be constituted.

During the hearing, Advocate General D. Pangam accepted the fact that the two Tree Authorities of the state had not been functioning the way they were supposed to. He assured the court that thereafter, the Tree Authorities would function and discharge the duties expected of them to be fulfilled under the Trees Act. The court observed that this showed the ‘scant regard’ such authorities had for the preservation of trees in the state of Goa.

The Bench, expressing its distress added, “Though Article 51A(G) provides that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures, the two Tree Authorities in the state of Goa and its members who are the citizens of India have acted as if no such provisions exist in the Constitution of India or that the provisions of Trees Act and duties which Section 7 has cast upon them, either do not exist or were not meant to be acted upon.”

While disposing off the petition, the Bench issued the directions for the improvement in the functionality of both the Trees Authorities of the state of Goa.

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