On March 25, 2021, the Supreme Court of India issued an order establishing an expert committee to "[d]evelop a set of scientific and policy guidelines that shall govern decision making with respect to cutting of trees for developmental projects." The order came in response to a petition challenging the government of West Bengal's plans to cut hundreds of trees, some up to 150 years old, in order to construct roads over bridges and widen roads. In considering whether the plan was in accord with the constitutional right to a healthy environment and India's sustainable development commitments, the Court emphasized the need to consider the impact of such projects on carbon sequestration and climate change. The Court noted "that the issue assumes significance from the perspective of climate change as a growing national and international concern" and noted India's climate commitment to increase tree cover from 23% to 33%. The Court then constituted the committee, comprised of seven members, and instructed it to produce the guidelines within four weeks of its first meeting.
|03/25/2021||Order||Download||Order establishing expert committee on tree cutting|