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Delhi High Court Appoints Retired Judge Najmi Waziri to Lead Forest Protection Committee

Former Justice Najmi Waziri Tasked with Chairing the Internal Departmental Committee for Forest Preservation by Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court recently designated Justice Najmi Waziri, a former judge, to lead the internal departmental committee responsible for safeguarding forests in the national capital, as seen in the case of Neeraj Sharma v Union of India & Ors.

In an order dated April 4, Justice Tushar Rao Gedela expressed concern over the insufficient efforts of land-owning departments to protect forests and deemed forests from encroachment and deforestation. The Court observed that these agencies were not adequately assisting the internal department committee, formed on the Court’s directive, in compiling essential documents, maps, and records.

In response, the Court decided to appoint a retired judge of the Delhi High Court to chair the committee, ensuring better cooperation from other departments. Justice Najmi Waziri, renowned for his environmentally-conscious rulings and initiatives to enhance greenery in the city, was requested to lead the committee.

The Court’s decision stemmed from a petition filed by Neeraj Sharma, seeking directives for the Delhi Government to demarcate all deemed forest areas identified in a 1997 affidavit submitted before the Supreme Court in the case of TN Godavarman Thirumulpud v Union of India & Ors.

Justice Waziri, often referred to as the “Green Judge,” retired from his position in July 2023, leaving behind a legacy of promoting environmental conservation. The internal departmental committee, chaired by Dr. P Viswakannan, the Chief Conservator of Forests, was established by the Delhi High Court on December 21, 2024.

During the proceedings on April 4, Amici Curiae Gautam Narayan and Aditya N Prasad highlighted the lack of coordination among government departments despite the Court’s directives. The appointment of a retired judge to the committee was deemed necessary to instill greater seriousness in the departments.

The Court emphasized the importance of cooperation from all government departments involved and authorized the committee to submit regular reports and seek further orders for effective implementation. Advocates Aditya N Prasad, Gautam Narayan, and Prabhsahay Kaur appeared as amici curiae in the case, while the Central Government Standing Counsel (CGSC) Nidhi Raman represented the Union of India. Advocates Debarchan De and Kritika Gupta represented the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), while Additional Standing Counsel (ASC) Avishkar Singhvi and advocates Naved Ahmed and Vivek Kumar Singh represented the Delhi government.

Click here to read the order

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