Supreme Court to hear Aaray forests case today, activists released on bail

A day after dozens of activists were arrested at the protest site of Aarey forests, a special bench of the Supreme Court will hear a plea on Monday against the felling of trees.

As per reports, the PIL was submitted by a group of law students on Sunday to hear the matter on urgent basis.

“A special bench has been constituted to hear the matter tomorrow, October 7 at 10 am on the basis of a letter dated October 6 addressed by Rishav Ranjan with regard to the felling of trees in Aarey forest, Maharashtra which has been registered as a public interest litigation,” the court said in a notice.

Meanwhile, as many as 29 activists were released on Sunday night, who were arrested by the Mumbai Police on Saturday.

The activists were granted bail by Dindoshi court on a cash bond of Rs 7,000 each and asked to appear at the police station for further inquiry.

84 activists were detained by the police for allegedly violating the prohibitory orders of section 144 imposed near the Aarey colony area, for disturbing public order and obstructing government officials from performing their duties.

The protests started on Friday night after the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) started axing the trees on after the Bombay High Court rejected a bunch of petitions filed by NGOs and activists against the tree felling.

The High Court had dismissed all petitions against the proposed cutting down of over 2,500 trees to make way for a Metro car shed and refused to declare the colony as a forest, in another petition.

Since late-night itself, many protestors gathered at the site to raise their voice against the felling of trees.

What shocked many was the timing of the action, as it was dark but activists gathered at the Colony after a video showing a tree being cut there, was widely circulated on social media.

Protestors gathered at the spot asking why the authorities can’t wait until a petition can be filed in the Supreme Court regarding the matter.

The protesters have been demanding the relocation of the bus depot, which is a part of the Metro III project.

Leaders from various political parties including Shiv Sena and Congress have also condemned the move.

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