The Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975
Maharashtra Act No. 44 of 1975
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY 6
Preliminary1. Short title, extent and commencement. - (1) This Act may be called the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) [Protection and preservation] of Trees Act, 1975. (2) It extends to the whole of the State of Maharashtra. (3) It shall come into force in any urban area or part thereof on such date as the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify and different dates may be specified for different urban areas or parts thereof. 2. Definitions. - In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,-
(a) "preservation of trees" includes planting of new tress and [other operations for survival and propagation of the trees;]
(b) "relevant Act" means the Act under which the urban local authority concerned is constituted;
(c) "to fell a tree" includes burning or cutting or [or in any way damaging a tree];
(e) "Tree Officer" means an officer appointed as such by the Tree Authority for the purpose of this Act;
(f) "urban area" means a municipal corporation area for which a municipal corporation is constituted under the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949 or the City of Nagpur Corporation Act, 1948, or a municipal area for which a Municipal Council is constituted under the Maharashtra Municipalities Act, 1965, and includes a notified area for which a Special Planning Authority is constituted or appointed under section 40 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 or an area designated as the site for a new town for which a Development Authority is constituted under section 113 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966;
(g) "urban local authority", in respect of any urban area, means the municipal corporation, municipal council, special Planning Authority or Development Authority, as the case may be, having jurisdiction over that area,
(h) words and expressions used in this Act, but not defined herein, shall have the meanings assigned to them in the relevant Act.
Establishment and Procedure of Tree Authority3. Establishment of Tree Authority. - (1) As soon as may be after this Act is brought into force in any urban area the urban local authority concerned shall constitute a Tree Authority, consisting of [the Chairman and others] not less than five and not more than fifteen persons from amongst its members, appointed in such manner and for such period as that authority may determine: Provided that, where an administrator by whatever name called is appointed for any municipal corporation or municipal council, he shall, during the period of his appointment, act as the Tree Authority and exercise all the powers and perform all the duties of the Tree Authority. (2) In the case of an urban local authority specified in column (1) of the table below, the Chairman of its Tree Authority shall be the person specified against it in column (2) thereof.
Name of the urban local authority
Chairman of its Tree Authority
A Municipal Corporation
[the Commissioner] of the Corporation.
A Municipal Council
The President of the Council
A Special Planning Authority constituted under section 40(1)(a) of the Maharashtra Regional and Town planning Act, 1966.
[The Chief Executive Officer] of the Special Planning Authority.
A New Town Development Authority constituted under section 113(2) of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966.
[The Chief Executive Officer] of the New Town Development Authority.
A New Town Development Authority declared under section 113(3A) of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 or a Special Planning Authority appointed under section 40(1)(b) of that Act.
The Managing Director of the Corporation or Company declared to be the New Town Development Authority.
Officers and Servants5. Appointment of Tree Officer. - (1) As soon as may be after this Act is brought into force in any urban area, the urban local authority concerned shall, subject to sub-section (2), appoint one or more of its officers as Tree Officers for the purposes of this Act. (2) In Greater Bombay any officer to be appointed as Tree Officer shall not be below the rank of Ward Officer, and in other municipal corporation areas such officers shall not be below the rank of Assistant Municipal Commissioner. In every municipal area, the Chief Officer of the municipal council concerned shall be Tree concerned Officer, and the Council may appoint one or more of its other officers as Tree Officers. (3) Every Tree Officer shall exercise jurisdiction over the whole or such part of the urban area as [the Tree Authority] may, from time to time, determine. 6. Appointment of other officers and servants. - (1) The urban local authority may, from time to time, appoint, such other officers and servants subordinate to the Tree Officer, as it considers necessary: Provided that, where the urban local authority is a municipal council, notwithstanding any restrictions on the appointment of staff contained in the Maharashtra Municipalities Act, 1965, the municipal council shall be competent to appoint the staff considered necessary by it for the purposes of this Act. (2) The conditions of appointment and service and the powers and duties of such officers and servants shall be such as may be determined by the urban local authority.
Duties of Tree Authority7. Duties of Tree Authority. - Notwithstanding anything contained in the relevant Act or in any other law for the time being in force, and subject to any special or general directions given by the State Government, the Tree Authority shall be responsible for-
(a) [protection and preservation] of all trees in all lands within its jurisdiction;
[(b)] carrying out a census of the existing trees in all lands within its jurisdiction, [once before December 1996 and thereafter once in every five years;]
(c) prescribing standards specifying the number and types of trees which each plot of land shall have and which shall be planted therein;
(d) development and maintenance of nurseries for the supply of seeds, sapplings and trees to persons who desire to plant new trees or to replace trees which have been felled with the previous permission of the Tree Officer [or involuntarily uprooted;]
(e) transplanting of trees necessitated by construction of new roads or widening of existing roads or for safeguarding danger to life or property;
[(f) organisation of flower, fruit, vegetable, tree or plant shows [atleast once a year] and assisting private and public Institutions in organising such shows, and creation of consciousness of importance of trees and vegetation to the human welfare;].
(g) grant of advice and technical assistance to any person seeking such advice or assistance in any matter connected with [planting protection and preservation] of trees;
(h) planting and maintaining such number of trees as it considers necessary, according to the prescribed standards, [along the roads] in public parks and gardens and on banks of rivers or lakes or [sea shores, on hills, open spaces or public places;]
(i) undertaking any other schemes or measures for achieving the objects of this Act.
Restrictions on Felling Trees and Liability for Planting and Preservation of Trees8. Restrictions on felling of trees. - (1) On and after the date on which this Act is brought into force in any urban area, notwithstanding any custom, usage, contract or law for the time being in force, no person shall fell any tree or cause any tree to be felled in any land, whether of his ownership or otherwise, situated within that urban area, except with the previous permission of the Tree Officer. (2) If [any person, including an officer of the urban local authority or an officer of the State Government or the Central Government proposes] to fell a tree, he shall apply in writing to the [Tree Authority] for permission in that behalf. The application shall be accompanied by [the description of the tree and] a site plan, indicating the position of the tree required to be felled and the reasons therefor. [(3) (a) On receipt of such application, the Tree Authority shall cause the Tree Officer to personally inspect the tree and hold enquiry and submit a report to the Tree Authority within a period of thirty days from the date of receipt of such application. Adequate public notice shall be given by the Tree Officer by advertising in local newspapers as well as by a fixing a notice on a conspicuous part of the tree that is required to be fell. Thereafter, the Tree Authority may give permission with or without conditions or refuse it, within a period of sixty days from the date of receipt of the application. However no tree shall be felled until fifteen days after such permission is given: Provided that, no such permission shall be refused if, in the opinion of the Tree Authority, the tree is dead, or diseased or wind fallen, or it constitutes a danger to life or property, or obstructs traffic; and if any objection is received against such permission, the matter shall be placed before the Tree Authority for reconsideration, and a decision shall be taken within two weeks after giving a hearing to the person who has raised the objection.
(b) A report of permissions granted by the Tree Authority for felling trees shall be submitted atleast once in six months to the concerned urban local authority in whose jurisdiction the Tree Authority is functioning;][(4) If the Tree Authority fails to inform the applicant of his decision within sixty days, from the date of the receipt of the application by it, or if the receipt of the application has been acknowledged by it within this period, from the date of acknowledgement of the receipt of the application, the permission applied for shall be deemed to have been granted;] (5) Where permission to fell a tree is granted, the [Tree Authority] may grant it subject to the condition that the applicant shall plant another tree of the same or [other local species], on the same site or other suitable place within thirty days from the date the tree is felled, or such extended time as the [Tree Authority] may allow in this behalf. 9. Power to require planting of adequate number of trees. - (1) If, in the opinion of the Tree Officer, the number of trees in any land is not adequate according to the standards prescribed under paragraph (c) of section 7, the Tree Officer may, after giving a reasonable opportunity to the owner or occupier of the land of being heard, by order, require him to plant such trees or additional trees and at such places in the land as may be specified in the order. (2) When an order is made under sub-section (1), the owner or occupier of the land shall comply with the order within ninety days from the receipt thereof. 10. Power to require planting of a tree in place of fallen or destroyed tree. - (1) Where any tree is fallen or destroyed by wind, fire, lightening or torrential rain, the Tree Officer may suo motu or on information given to him, after holding such inquiry as he deems fit and giving a reasonable opportunity to the owner or occupier of the land where the tree existed by order, require such owner or occupier [to plant one or more trees of the local species] in place of the tree so fallen or destroyed of the same or [other local species] at the same or other suitable place as may be specified in the order. (2) Where an order is made under sub-section (1), the owner or occupier of land shall comply with the order within ninety days from the receipt thereof. 11. Responsibility for preservation of trees [and power to take deposit for proper compliance]. - [(1) Where an order is made [* * *] under section 8, 9 or 10 subject to the provisions of section 12, it shall be the duty of the owner or occupier of the land who is directed to plant a tree to see that the tree grows property [and is well preserved and shall give a report to the Tree Officer once in six months about the conditions of such tree or trees for a period of three years.] It shall also be the duty of such owner or occupier to preserve all other trees existing on the land on the date of coming into force of this Act in the urban area in which the land is situated.] [(2) Where an order is made under section 8, 9 or 10, the Tree Officer may require the owner or, as the case may be, the occupier, of the land to deposit with him such sum as he may specify in this behalf, as security for ensuring proper compliance with the order made [under section 8, 9 or 10]. The sum to be deposited shall not exceed such amount as may be prescribed.] 12. Adoption of trees. - (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or in any other law for the time being in force, the Tree Authority may, subject to such terms and conditions as it may specify in that behalf, allow by a written permission any individual body corporate or institution to adopt any tree for such period as may be specified in the permission, and during such period the said individual, body corporate or institution shall be responsible for the maintenance and preservation of the said tree. (2) Where any order is made [* * *] under sections 8, 9 and 10, in lieu of planting a new tree, the Tree Authority may by written permission allow the person concerned to adopt a tree specified by it and then the person shall be responsible for the maintenance and preservation of that tree for such period as may be specified by the [Tree Authority]: [Provided that, the trees to be adopted shall be less than one year old and their number shall not be less than the number of trees, which the person concerned could have been required to plant under sub section (5) of section 8, sub-section (1) of section 9 or sub-section (1) of section 10, as the case may be.] 13. [Forfeiture of deposit and Recovery] of expenditure on failure to comply with orders for planting trees. - Where the owner or occupier of any land fails to comply with any order made [under sections 8, 9 or 10 the Tree Authority or the Tree Officer as the case may be, may], after giving a reasonable opportunity to such owner or occupier of being heard [forfeit the deposit, in full or a in part to the Tree Authority] and without prejudice to any other action which may be taken against the defaulter under this Act, take the necessary action [* * *] and recover the expenditure incurred therefor from the owner or the occupier, as the case may be. [For the purpose of recovery of the amount of such expenditure, the Tree Authority [or the Tree Officer] shall have the same powers as are available to the urban local authority for the purpose of recovery of arrears of a property tax or where such tax is not levied, for the purpose of recovery of arrears of betterment charges or other dues levied by the urban authority under the relevant Act] 14. Appeals. - (1) Where any decision is given or order is made under section [* * *] or 10 by the Tree Officer, an appeal shall lie to the Tree Authority. (2) The appeal shall be made within fifteen days from the date the decision is communicated to, or the order is received by, the owner or occupier of the land and shall be accompanied by a fee of Rs. 50. (3) The Tree Authority shall, as far as possible, decide the appeal within sixty days from the date of its receipt, after giving a reasonable opportunity to the appellant of being heard. The decision of the Tree Authority shall be final, and shall not be questioned in any Court of Law: Provided that, wherein appeal is made in time, the period for compliance, specified in the order of the Tree Officer appealed against, shall be reckoned from the date on which the appeal is decided against the appellant and where the appeal is allowed, the fee of Rs. 50 paid with the appeal shall be refunded to the appellant.
Finance, Budget and Accounts15. Fund of Tree Authority. - Notwithstanding anything contained in the relevant law or any other law for the time being in force, the urban local authority shall create a separate fund to be called the Tree Authority Fund, to which shall be credited all moneys received by the Tree Authority including-
[(a) a contribution by the urban local authority from its income from such taxes as may be prescribed or when such taxes are not levied by the authority, from its income from the betterment charges, if any, levied by it under the relevant Act or from the income derived by it from the sale of plots made by it under the relevant Act. The rates of the contribution shall be such as may be specified by the State Government, from time to time, by a general or special order;].
(b) all moneys raised by levy of a cess under Chapter VII;
(c) any grants made by the State Government to the Tree Authority;
(d) any moneys received by the Tree Authority as donations from any individuals, or corporate bodies or institutions.16. Budget. - Every Tree Authority shall, on or before the 31st day of October every year, prepare in such form as the urban local authority may prescribe, an annual budget estimate in respect of the ensuing financial year of the estimated income and expenditure of the Tree Authority and shall, notwithstanding anything contained, in the relevant law, submit it to the urban local authority for approval and inclusion in the budget estimate of that authority. 17. Accounts and audit. - The procedure applicable under the relevant law for maintenance and audit of accounts of the urban local authority shall mutatis mutendis apply to the maintenance and audit of the accounts of every Tree Authority.
Tree Cess18. Levy and collection of Tree cess. - (1) Where under the relevant law, an urban local authority is levying a property tax on buildings and lands, it shall be lawful for such authority, notwithstanding anything contained in the relevant law, upon a request by the Tree Authority, to levy, for the purposes of this Act, an additional tax to be called 'the Tree Cess' on the buildings and lands, at such rate not exceeding one per cent, of the rateable value of the property as the said authority may determine. [(1A) Where under the relevant Act, an urban local authority is levying a property tax on buildings and lands on the Capital value thereof, the Tree Cess leviable under sub-section (1) shall be levied at such rate, not exceeding 0.5 per cent, of the capital value of such building and lands, as the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify: Provided that, the Tree Cess so levied under this section shall not exceed,-
(i) in respect of buildings used for residential premises, two times, and
(ii) in respect of buildings used for non-residential premises, three times,the amount of Tree Cess leviable in respect thereof in the year immediately preceding such date of adoption of capital value as the basis for assessment of property tax: Provided further that, for the period of five years commencing from the levy of capital value as the basis of assessment of property tax, the Tree Cess leviable in respect of residential building or tenements having carpet area of 46.45 sq. meter (500 sq. feet) or less, shall not exceed the amount of Tree Cess levied and payable in the year immediately preceding the year of such adoption of capital value as the basis. Explanation. - For the purposes of this section, after the Urban local authority adopts the capital value as the basis for levy of property tax, the Tree Cess, in respect of any taxable building shall be revised after every five years and on each such revision, such amount of Tree Cess, shall not in any case exceed the forty per cent of the amount of the Tree Cess levied and payable m the year immediately preceding the year of the revision. [(1B) No Tree Cess under sub-section (1) or (1A) shall be leviable in respect of the buildings and lands or parts thereof vesting in, or in the occupation of, any consul de carriers, whether called as a consul general, consul, vice-consul, consular agent, proconsul or by any other name of a foreign State recognised as such by the Government of India, or of any members (not being citizens of India) of staff of such officials, and such buildings and lands or parts thereof which are used or intended to be used for any purpose other than for the purpose of profit. (1C) In respect of the buildings and lands which are liable to be assessed for the first time on or after the 1st April, 2010, it shall be lawful for the urban local authority to issue a provisional bill for the payment of Tree Cess, until the final capital value of such buildings and lands are assessed as per the rateable value worked out on the basis of the prescribed letting rates by the urban local authority, in respect of the official year 2009-2010. On the determination of capital value thereof, the amount of such cess shall be determined under sub-section (1A) and accordingly it shall be lawful for the authority to issue the final bill in respect of the years for which the capital value is determined.] (2) The procedure for levy and collection of the property tax prescribed under the relevant Act shall mutatis mutendis apply to the levy and collection of the cess imposed under [sub-section (1), (1A) or (1C) as the case may be].
Miscellaneous19. Permission for development of land to be given with approval of Tree Officer. - Notwithstanding anything contained in the relevant law or any other law for the time being in force, -
(a) any authority or officer of the urban local authority, who is empowered to give any permission for development of land, shall not give such permission, except with the approval of and subject to the conditions, if any, imposed by the Tree Officer in regard to the preservation or plantation of trees on such land;
(b) no completion or occupation certificate in respect of any building shall be issued under the relevant law unless the authority competent to issue such certificate is satisfied that the conditions subject to which permission for development of the land as aforesaid was given have been complied with.20. Power of Tree Authority to give directions. - The Tree Authority may, from time to time, give to the Tree Officer and other Officers and servants subordinate to him such general or special directions as it thinks fit as to the policy to be followed by them in the discharge of their functions and for carrying out effectively the purposes of this Act, and such officers and servants shall comply with such directions. [20A. Prevention of felling or destruction of trees. - The Tree Officer or any other officer of the urban local authority authorised by such authority in this behalf or any police officer may take such steps and use such force as may be reasonably necessary to prevent the felling or destruction of any tree or for the protection of any tree. 20B. Power of entry for the purposes of this Act. - (1) [It] shall be lawful for the Tree Officer, or any officer authorised by him or by the Tree Authority in this behalf to enter, with such assistants as he may deem necessary, upon any public premises for the purposes of proper enforcement of this Act and for that purpose carry out such inspection and take such steps and use such force as may be expedient. [* * * * * * * *]
(a) except between the hours of sunrise and sunset; and
(b) without the consent of the owner, occupier or person in charge of the public premises and without giving him a written notice of not less than twenty-four hours, declaring the intention to make such entry:Provided that, no such notice shall be necessary if the entry is for the purpose of prevention of unathorised felling of trees.]. 21. [Offence and penalty]. - [(1)] Whoever fells any tree or causes any tree to be felled in contravention of the provisions [of the Act] or without reasonable excuse fails to comply with any order issued or conditions imposed [by the Tree Officer or the Tree Authority or voluntarily obstructs any member of the Tree Authority or the Tree Officer or any officers and servants subordinate to him in the discharge of their functions under this Act, shall, on conviction, be punished with the fine of not less then one thousand rupees which may extend upto five thousand rupees for every offence and also with imprisonment for a term of not less than one week, which may extend upto one year:] Provided that, nothing in this section shall apply to the felling of trees or along the public roads undertaken by the Public Works Department of the State or Central Government. [(2) The felling or causing of felling of each tree without the permission of the Tree Authority shall constitute a separate offence.] 22. Power to make rules. - (1) The State Government may, subject to the condition of pervious publication and by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules for carrying out the purposes of this Act. (2) Every-rule made under this Act shall be laid as soon as may be after it is made before each House of the State Legislature while it is in session for a total period of thirty days which may be comprised in one session or in two successive sessions and if, before the expiry of the session immediately following, both Houses agree in making any modification in the rule or both Houses agree that the rule should not be made, and notify such decision in the Official Gazette, the rule shall from the date of publication of such notification have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the case may be; so however that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity or anything previously done or omitted to be done under that rule.
NotificationsG.N., U.D. & P.H.D., No. PRT. 1075/MC-(a) 1, dated 24th February, 1976 (M.G., Part IV-B, page 316) - In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (3) of section 1 of the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Preservation of Trees Act, 1975 (Maharashtra XLIV of 1975), the Government of Maharashtra hereby specifies the 20th day of March 1976, as the date on which the said Act shall come into force in each of the urban areas specified in the Schedule hereto appended.
Municipal Council AreasThe areas under the jurisdiction of all the Hill Station Municipal Councils specified in Part II of Schedule I to the Maharashtra Municipalities Act, 1965, excluding the Reserved Forest Areas and the Protected Forest Areas, if any, within the jurisdiction of the said Municipal Councils. G.N., U.D., & P.H.D., No. PRT-1075-282-UD-4, dated the 1st July, 1976 (M.G., Part I-A-CS, page 56) - In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (3) of Section 1 of the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Preservation of Trees Act, 1975 (Maharashtra XLIV of 1975), the Government of Maharashtra hereby specifies the 1st day of July 1976, as the date on which the said Act shall come into force in each of the urban areas specified in the Schedule hereto appended.
Municipal Council AreasThe areas under the jurisdiction of ail the 'C' class Municipal Councils specified in Part I of Schedule I to the Maharashtra Municipalities Act, 1965, excluding the Reserve Forest Areas and the Protected Forest Areas, if any, within the jurisdiction of the said Municipal Councils. G.N., U.D. & P.H.D., No. PRT-1076/826-UD-4, dated 23rd August, 1976 (M.G., Part I-A-CS, page 75) - In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (3) of section 1 of the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Preservation of Trees Act, 1975 (Maharashtra XLIV of 1975), the Government of Maharashtra hereby specifies the 23rd day of August 1976, as the date on which the said Act shall come into force in the Nagpur Notified Area for which a Special Planning Authority is appointed and which is described in Government Notification, Urban Development and Public Health Department, No. RPN. 1175/435-UD-6, dated the 16th March, 1976.