The Supreme Court on Monday hinted that it may consider relaxing its order banning registration of new diesel luxury cars and SUVs with an engine capacity of over 2000 cc in Delhi and National Capital Region.
“Primarily, we are of the view that diesel vehicles cause more pollution than other vehicles. We may be right, we may be wrong. We are open to modifying it,” a bench comprising ChiefJustice T S Thakur said.
The court also asked Delhi government, Environment Pollution Control Authority and taxi owners association to give a concrete road map for phasing out diesel taxis from NCR.
The apex court also indicated that all diesel cars, depending on their price and engine capacity, must pay one-time environment cess which would be determined after deliberations.
“We may start a symbolic cess on any person who is buying a diesel vehicle which would be a one-time cess. What should be the scale, price, engine capacity is the thing to be deliberated upon. There has to be a rational basis to decide that,” the bench, also comprising Justices R Banumathi and A K Sikri, said.
The observation came after Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said that diesel was not the only “evil” responsible for the pollution and other fuels like CNG and petrol also pollute the environment.
He said that petrol emits carbon monoxide, CNG vehicles release oxides of nitrogen while diesel emits particulate matters all of which are polluting agents.
He further said the Centre has initiated “Make-in-India” policy and automobile sector cannot be held responsible for pollution.
“If any automobile manufacturer is carrying out his business as per laws of the country, then putting any restrictions beyond those in law would not help in any way.
Manufacturers cannot be held responsible for pollution in the environment,” he said. Referring to the 2015 IIT-Kanpur study, the Solicitor General said that other sources of pollution like dust, stubble burning etc cannot be undermined which contribute significantly to the pollution in the environment