SC allows diesel SUVs back into the capital

Following a plea by car manufacturer to pay one per cent environment protection charge, the court allows big diesel cars in the NCR  

By Anupam Chakravartty
Published: Friday 12 August 2016

The Supreme Court on Friday decided to allow the registration of big diesel cars over 2,000 cc which were earlier banned by the court in December 16, 2015
Credit: Samrat MukherjeeSports Utility Vehicles, even those running on 2000 CC and above diesel engines can now be registered in the National Capital, said a Supreme Court bench in a case related to air pollution in the city. However, the bench also ordered that an environment protection charge (EPC) of one per cent of the ex-Showroom price will have to be paid by manufacturers or dealers as compensation for polluting the city’s air.

This verdict comes after a series of lower court rulings banned diesel vehicles, both new and old, since their exhaust fumes were worsening Delhi's already precarious air pollution level.

Earlier in December 2015, the Apex Court had banned the sale of large cars with 2000 CC and above diesel engine as studies indicate that heavy diesel engines contribute to the Nitrous Oxide emissions—that holds a lion’s share of the vehicular pollution. However, on Friday, following an appeal by the international car manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz, the apex court revoked the ban.

Mercedes, in its petition, told the court that it was ready to pay an EPC amounting to about one per cent, while several other car manufacturers had protested the ban citing how drop in sales was affecting their businesses. The bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur, and Justices A K Sikri and R Bhanumathi asked Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to open bank accounts in public sector banks where EPC could be deposited by car manufacturers.  “The transport authority will only register a big vehicle if the receipt for the payment of EPC is shown to the authorities,” the bench stated.

On July 4, SC reserved its verdict on pleas seeking modification in its order banning registration of diesel- run SUVs with engine capacity of 2000 CC and above in National Capital Region (NCR), indicating that such vehicles may be allowed to be registered again on payment of one per cent of ex-showroom price as EPC.

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