NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over increasing pollution in the national capital, the Supreme Court on Tuesday hinted it may bar registration of diesel-run SUVs, cars with an engine capacity of over 2000 cc and commercial vehicles for 3-4 months, stating that the rich cannot go around polluting the environment.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur, also indicated that green cess levied on trucks entering Delhi will be hiked by 100 per cent. The court had on October 12 ordered that light duty vehicles would have to pay Rs 700 and three-axle vehicles Rs 1,300 to enter Delhi in addition to toll tax from November 1 as ‘Environment Compensation Charge’ (ECC) in a bid to check pollution in the city.
Now, the light duty vehicles may have to pay Rs 1400 and three-axle vehicles Rs 2,600 as ECC. The bench is likely to issue interim directions on Wednesday as it ran out of time on Tuesday. The court said that as an interim measure, for three-four months, it may ban registration of SUVs and high-end cars having an engine capacity of over 2000 cc, besides banning entry of commercial vehicles, registered prior to 2005, in Delhi. It also said only CNG cabs may be allowed to run on Delhi roads. The ban on burning of municipal waste must be enforced strictly, besides Euro-IV emission norms, it observed.
“Why don’t you people take credit of cleaning Delhi air? You could enumerate the steps to be taken and why are you asking the court to do it?” the bench asked. “People’s life is at stake and you are interested in selling cars!” CJI Thakur said, slamming car dealers, who argued against the National Green Tribunal order banning registration of diesel cars. During the hearing, the bench asked the counsel, representing the Centre and the Delhi government, to come out with comprehensive long and short-term plans to tackle air pollution.
On Delhi government’s odd-even plan for alternately allowing private vehicles to ply, the bench said, “It is for you (Delhi govt) to implement.” CJI Thakur, who supported the policy, reiterated “he won’t hesitate” to car pool with “brother judges”. The court also said it would direct the registry to provide a bicycle stand as desired by advocate Tulsi.
Clear air on pollution: NGT to centre
The National Green Tribunal directed the Centre and the Delhi government to clarify their stand by Wednesday on causes of pollution in the capital besides capping and scrapping of old diesel vehicles after car dealers sought modifications to its earlier harsh order banning registration of new diesel vehicles till January 6. The Delhi High Court, meanwhile, mooted an idea that Delhi-National Capital Region may be treated as one state with respect to CNG cabs so that law or guidelines on vehicular emissions could be enforced uniformly.