Delhi HC sentences two PWD officials to jail for not protecting treestext_fields
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court sentenced two PWD officials to simple imprisonment for not following the court orders to protect trees in the Chittaranjan Park area.
The executive engineer and the engineer-in-chief of the Public Works department (PWD) are handed imprisonment for a period of four months and two months, respectively.
They are also slapped a fine of Rs 2,000 each for what the court said the officials’ "recalcitrance" to follow the law and court orders.
Justice Najmi Waziri pointed out that the court previously directed the authorities to cautiously undertake any civil works in view of the safety of trees, and the National Green Tribunal also gave similar directions.
‘What is seen from the above is that despite repeated directions and orders passed of this court and of the NGT (National Green Tribunal), there has been a consistent disregard in compliance of the same. Such recalcitrance to abide by the law and defiance of the court's orders cannot merit anything less than a sentence,’ said the court in its order dated May 18.
The court has kept the sentence in abeyance for 10 weeks in order to give officials enough time to seek legal remedies.
The two officials were found guilty of disobeying its orders in March 2022 regarding the protection of the trees.
In February, the court had taken on record photographs of a Chittaranjan Park pavement, showing digging up for civil work.
The court noted that ‘the digging distance from the tree trunk is less than one metre; the tree roots have been cut/damaged’.
The court also found that its orders and that of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) were ‘deliberately breached’, which was ‘prima facie contempt of court’.