Supreme Court extends big diesel vehicle ban

The court has asked Delhi Government’s EPCA to prepare a detailed plan for all the vehicle owners to pay compensation to minimise health risks

By Anupam Chakravartty
Published: Thursday 31 March 2016

Photo: Chinky Shukla

The Supreme Court has extended a ban on the sale and registration of diesel cars above 2000 CC in New Delhi until April 30. It has also asked the Environmental Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) to work out details of compensation under the "polluter pays" principle for all polluting vehicles. An earlier deadline of March 31 was imposed by the apex court in a case related to the increasing air pollution in the city.

Chief Justice of India, T S Thakur, one of the three judges hearing the case said that while the ban on the sale and registration of all diesel vehicles would continue till April 31, EPCA would work out a detailed compensation for all the polluting vehicles in the city. EPCA had suggested 30-35 per cent of the vehicles’ cost as a compensation. However, the court asked the EPCA to prepare a detailed plan for all kinds of private as well as public vehicles. The apex court also extended the deadline converting all diesel-run taxis into CNG in the national capital by a month.

For the exempted vehicles such as the ones belonging to the elite Special Protection Group from the diesel registration ban, the bench said 30 per cent of the vehicle’s price will have to be paid as compensation as a part of polluter pays principle. According to Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director - Research and Advocacy and head of the air pollution and clean transportation programme of the Delhi based non-profit, Centre for Science and Environment, the message of the court is clear. “The court has recognised the pollution control effort to minimize the public health risk that people in the city are exposed to,” she added.

Earlier, the apex court also imposed a heavy cess on the entry of trucks to stop the vehicular pollution and congestion on the roads. During the hearing of the case, the court was told that around 400,000 trucks had been diverted from Delhi and Rs 1.52 billion collected as cess which will be used by the Delhi government to improve the air quality and emission control in the city.

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