The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Delhi Development Authority to clarify if the orders to cut nearly 1,100 trees in the national capital’s Ridge forest was carried out based on the direction issued by Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, Bar and Bench reported.

Saxena is the chairperson of the Delhi Development Authority.

A division bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan was hearing a suo motu contempt case initiated against Delhi Development Authority Vice Chairperson Subhashish Panda for the felling of trees in violation of previous orders of the court, reported Live Law.

The court took note of a report by a committee constituted by the Delhi Development Authority that investigated the cutting of trees. The bench noted that email communications referred to a site visit made by Saxena on February 3 following which directions were allegedly issued by him to cut the trees.

The court also observed that the committee had not investigated the contents of the email and had entirely blamed three officers of the Delhi Development Authority.

“We are dealing with a very serious issue,” the court told Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for the Delhi Development Authority. “1,100 trees, are you taking it very casually? Ask your officer who issued these directions. Is it the chairman? Then we are making him a party. Now you are blaming the junior officers.”

The bench said that it was obvious that the order to cut the trees was passed after the site visit of the lieutenant governor.

“This is such a brazen act,” the bench said. “Two documents placed on record clearly say that it was lieutenant governor.”

The court said that it wants to know who exactly committed the breach of court order. “If nobody responds, we would be inclined to say LG [lieutenant governor] issued directions,” the court said.

At a previous hearing, the court had directed the Forest Survey of India to visit the area to find out how many trees were cut and asked the Delhi Development Authority to plant 100 new trees for each tree felled by it, reported Live Law.

The court will next hear the matter on Wednesday.