NEW DELHI (TIP): The Supreme Court on March 31 ordered for continuance of ban on registration of new diesel-run Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and high-end cars of 2000cc and above in the National Capital Region.
A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice T S Thakur said the ban, imposed from December 16 till March 31, would remain in operation till it decided on the car manufacturers plea that their vehicles caused less pollution.
The court also indicated for imposing pollution charge on buyers of bigger cars, in case it allowed their registration in the NCR which includes Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Noida.
The apex court, however, extended by April 30 the time for converting all taxis onto the CNG fuel platform.
“We can modify our order but they (buyers) have to pay the cost to help the environment,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi.
To a plea by a host of senior advocates, representing the car manufacturers, including Mercedes Benz, that there was no ground to assume that their vehicles crossed the pollution limit, the bench asked, “Can you give us any study that suggests that diesel caused less pollution than petrol?”
“We have earlier ordered for converting public transport vehicles run on diesel to CNG. Do you want to re-invent wheel? Is it medically-advised to go for diesel cars,” the bench asked further.
As senior advocate C A Sundaram claimed diesel cars were more fuel efficient, the bench said, “What class of people are buying these cars? Are they bothered about fuel efficiency? These are super-rich people, who want to show off.”
Armed with a study done by IIT-Kanpur, Sundaram claimed there were many vehicles like Innova and Tata Sumo, which are run as taxis and complied with Bharat Stage norms, while causing less pollution due to fuel optimisation. He also submitted that the Delhi government proposed 4% cess on purchasing 1500 cc and above and 2.5%on less than 1500 cc vehicles. Senior advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for Maruti, contended that the court’s ban order affected the car manufacturer.
The bench, however, said, “It is your city when you step out you also breathe air. You need to help in combating pollution.”
“We are conscious of the fact that the ban order would affect economy and business of the companies. You should tell us possible alternatives as you are all responsible companies and should present consolidated views,” the bench told the counsel, adding that the matter would heard in detail on a Saturday for which the date would be announced later.
During the hearing, as a counsel claimed the court’s previous order was being interpreted to extend the ban on registration of trucks and heavy commercial vehicles in Delhi, the bench observed: “There is no need for fresh registration of trucks. Is there any place for parking?Heaven will not fall if trucks are not registered here. There should be conjection charge also.”