SC extends entry ban on heavy commercial vehicles in Delhi

SC extends entry ban on heavy commercial vehicles in Delhi

In further steps to clean Delhi air, the Supreme Court on Tuesday extended its ban on entry of heavy commercial vehicles from other points in the City.

It also refused to alter prohibition imposed on registration of new cars above 2000 cc in the National Capital Region (NCR). A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice T S Thakur also sought to know from the central government its stand on phasing out 10-year-old diesel vehicles and bringing ahead the deadline for implementing higher emission norms of Bharat VI to 2017.

Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar told the court that an electric vehicle recently introduced for service in Parliament will also be provided for the apex court for trial run.

Though the court agreed to hear plea of auto giants Mercedes-Benz India, Toyota and Mahindra and Mahindra for lifting stay on fresh registration of their high-end cars above 2000 cc, the bench refused to pass any immediate order and instead asked them to come up with materials to explain if their diesel vehicles were less polluting than those run by petrol.

“How will you dispute the basic fact that diesel vehicles are not polluting the environment? Are you trying to say that diesel vehicles are non-polluting and only petrol vehicles are polluting,” the bench asked senior advocates, representing the automobile majors.

As the counsel contended some of the vehicles were being used by middle class, the bench disagreed by observing, “It is used by the rich people only. You are saying diesel vehicles cause less pollution. So are your vehicles emitting oxygen?"

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, counsel for Toyota, however, replied in a lighter vein, “Only this court emits oxygen”.

During the hearing, the court ordered: “We direct that no heavy commercial vehicles, except those which are bound for Delhi, shall be allowed to enter through entry points at National Highway 2, 10, 58 and State Highway 57.”

The fresh prohibition will restrict heavy traffic inflow in Delhi from Faridabad, Palwal, Ghaziabad and Baghpat. Senior advocate and amicus curiae Harish Salve submitted that there has been about 20 per cent reduction in entry of trucks in Delhi.

The court, on December 16, had restricted the entry of commercial vehicles into Delhi from NH-8 which connects Jaipur and Delhi and NH-1 that connects the states of Punjab, Haryana and other northern States with Delhi via Kundli border. It also refused to change its order asking all NCR taxis to convert to CNG by March 31. It also clarified that its order banning registration of diesel vehicles would not come in the way of issuing no-objection certificates to 10-year-old diesel and 15-year-old vehicles for selling those to people outside the NCR region.

The court, which put the matter for further consideration on January 20, asked the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to consider increasing frequency of trains to meet the extra rush of passengers due to the implementation of the Delhi government’s odd-even scheme.

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