Libertatem Magazine

Vehicular pollution in Delhi [M.C. Mehta v. Union of India,2016

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The Supreme Court Tuesday continued its ban on registration of diesel SUVs and high-end vehicles with engine capacity of over 2000 cc in the capital until March 31, and observed that automakers will be “in trouble” if there is empirical evidence to show diesel pollutes more than petrol.A bench led by Chief Justice T S Thakur asked Central and Delhi governments to adduce verifiable findings to examine the claim by automobile companies that modern diesel engines don’t cause more pollution than petrol engines since they work on superior technology. The prohibition was imposed by the bench — also comprising Justice A K Sikri and Justice R Banumathi — on December 16 after noting that “because of the higher engine capacity, they (diesel vehicles) are more prone to cause higher levels of pollution.” Observing that the “polluter pays” principle shall apply to owners of diesel cars, the bench said it will also consider banning registration of diesel vehicles below 2000 cc at an appropriate stage. It also took exception to old diesel vehicles being used by the central government. The bench extended the ban on entry of goods vehicles not bound for the capital and also restricted entry of heavy vehicles from four more points on three national highways and one state highway. The Court also suggested offering incentives to car owners to leave their vehicles at home and take a Metro to work. It asked the Solicitor General to consider starting a premium Metro service with the comfort of first-class railway coaches. The order has been passed on suggestions by senior advocate Harish Salve, who acts as amicus curiae in the PIL filed by environmentalist M C Mehta in 1985.

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