Ban on big diesel cars stays, Supreme Court says get us data on polluting fuel

Green groups want to extend the ban to smaller diesel cars and other smog-choked cities in India.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: January 6, 2016 3:21 am
diesel ban, supreme court diesel ban, diesel ban supreme court The Supreme Court had also been expected to rule on Tuesday on a separate green tax on all diesel cars in the city, but has yet to announce its decision on that levy.

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 bench rejected a plea by automobile manufactures Mercedes, Toyota and Mahindra & Mahindra to lift the interim ban on registration of diesel vehicles of 2000 cc and above, “Do your cars emit oxygen? If we find diesel (engines) to be more polluting, you are in trouble.”

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.” According to an affidavit filed by the government in the Supreme Court last year, diesel-driven vehicles account for over 90 per cent of SUVs in the country, 34 per cent of small cars and 70 per cent of large/medium cars.

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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, and sought to know from Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar: “Why should the government be a polluter? You are using vehicles older than 5-10 years. Are they not polluting? Should they not be removed?”

An hour later, when the Solicitor General came back to the court, he said the government has decided to phase out all diesel vehicles older than 10 years. “Five-year-old vehicles will either be converted to CNG or will be made battery-run,” Kumar added.

Pointing out that the top court is going to sternly implement its directions to control pollution in Delhi, the bench also dismissed a plea by private taxi operators to give them more time to switch to CNG. “We are not going to modify our direction whatever may be the effect. Taxis are to be run only on CNG after March 31,” said the bench, even as an argument was made that diesel-run taxis cannot switch to CNG because the engines are not compatible.

Meanwhile, the Solicitor General assured the court that more than 100 CNG stations will be made operational across the NCR to make sure there is no inconvenience to public.

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. With this order, the ban on entry of goods vehicles spans to a total of five national highways — NH 1, 2, 8, 10 and 58 — and one state highway, SH 57, which witness largest number of vehicles passing through Delhi.

These highways connect the capital to neighbouring states such as Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The court asked the authorities to divert these vehicles to alternate routes. At the same time, the court allowed entry of commercial vehicles, which are Delhi bound, but only once they pay enhanced pollution cess.

During the four-hour-long hearing, 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. “Why doesn’t the DMRC examine charging five-times the normal fare and have some premium service?” asked Justice Thakur, who is voluntarily carpooling with fellow judge Justice Sikri despite both of them being exempt due to their constitutional status. The law officer was also asked to seek instructions about expediting efforts to introduce BS-VI emission norms in the country before 2022.

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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  1. R
    RS Verma
    Mar 30, 2016 at 1:01 pm
    We will do protest against BAN on diesel commercial vehicle in Delhi/ NCR.
    1. I
      Jan 6, 2016 at 12:17 am
      WHY THE Supreme CORRUPT(SC) of India involved in this? Where there is BIG MONEY SC will be definitely involved. Retired THIEF Justices of India are the pimps between the companies and present Thief Justices of India. Once a Thief Justice takes office an account will be automatically opened in the SWISS BRANCHES IN MAURITIUS. Air tickets and all expenses for European tours will be arranged by Intelligence Bureau including women. NTRO officer would have planted cameras in the hotel to capture the leelas of the judges. That videos will be used to determine the judgements. Now the brahmin appointed brahmin company PROs(another set of pimps between companies and IB) will liaise between for favorable judgements. IB will ensure that. ______Todays decision by the Supreme CORRUPT is just to fool people to believe that SC is serious, a drama. This means behind the scenes, in the rooms of Hotel Leela, Hotel Taj, DEALS ARE GOING IN. IB will give protection for all the scoundrels in the game. AND WE FOOLS WILL DEBATE OVER THAT. S, YOU AND OF COURSE I !!!!
      1. C
        concerned Indian
        Jan 6, 2016 at 3:24 am
        Your lordship your judicial over reach is concerning me.
        1. A
          Abhishek Bajpai
          Feb 25, 2016 at 8:42 am
          Unbelievable! How the courts can be technically ignorant. Pollution is a world wide concern and every nation has adopted an approach to address it. But as evident by the verdict this ban has been imposed without considering or compiling any technical data. There are many technologies by which engines can be modified to cause negligible pollution. Ofcourse engines will never emit oxygen but pollution should have been defined in terms of NOx and SOx and manufacturers should have been given a limit to design the engines in terms NOx or SOx or particulate emission per unit power of engine. This is the world wide followed and accepted approach. An outright ban is in no way acceptable! Either the people imposing this ban have no technical foresight or they are outrigthly trying to harras public.
          1. B
            bala Raja
            Jan 6, 2016 at 3:31 am
            What a sad state of affairs when the Supreme Court has to behave like a traffic constable? The justices are also coming up with om ideas with no justification in law. Shouldn't there be a policy-making Governmental body (aka the environmental dept) that should frame well-thought-out policies? It seems ridiculous to ban s of high-end vehicles, which are technologically advanced, versus the lorries, buses and autos that pollute the most. The SC nowadays doesn't deal with points of law. It acts like a feudal lord overseeing his territory. What we need are national-level polices that need to be implemented across the country, not some knee-jerk, om directives from the court. When there are thousands and thousands of cases pending, and fundamental issues of corruption, etc. are at stake, the SC chooses to indulge in "cleaning up" Delhi. Completely dysfunctional system of governance in India.
            1. K
              Jan 5, 2016 at 7:52 pm
              Nobody that I know believes one word coming out of dopey Jaitley. I would not trust him even if my life depended on it. If BJP loses the next Lok Sabha elections, you will know whose presence made it happen. Remember that he lost the elections! But he managed to get in. But now, if BJP loses the next Lok Sabha elections, you will know who to blame. India must get ready to welcome Mr Nitish Kumar as the next PM. Mr Nitish Kumar has cl and substance. The crouching, dokhla-eating Gujjubhai whose chin touches his chest, is only good to run after the goras for selfies, and provide photoshopped black to pink images of himself to the media.
              1. S
                May 30, 2016 at 11:42 am
                This decision will change standards of vehicle and also rates of accident will decrease with modern vehicles purchased by old user. Off Course they are many loop s in this decision, but overall its beneficial for all. Every diesel engine vehicle life is not more than 6-7 years after that span of time, these engine are not fit to use, no matter how maintained it is kept, piston blocks gets damaged by time being in force.
                1. S
                  May 10, 2016 at 1:01 pm
                  1. S
                    May 10, 2016 at 1:03 pm
                    why we all want to gift death to our next generation. just to make our life comfortable. very expensive deal.
                    1. D
                      Jan 5, 2016 at 12:13 pm
                      Sc must know the new imported diesel engines cars may be of any power, never ever ommitts carbon for first 4-5 years up to 3,00,000 Kms. thats the truth I wrote before also.
                      1. K
                        Apr 19, 2016 at 9:10 am
                        Supreme court judges should travel by Metro as per regular office timings and they will understand the pain.
                        1. G
                          Jan 5, 2016 at 10:33 pm
                          Why is the supreme court involved in this? The judges don't want to do their job but they have no hesitation doing somebody else's work. Maybe the people responsible for pollution should start hearing cases that are pending because the judges are busy wasting time on other issues. The judges were involved in the past and look at the mess we are in. If the judiciary had sta out, things would have gotten worse and the legislature and executive would have acted long ago. And it would have the weight of an elected govt instead of the whim (no matter how meaning) of a judge.
                          1. H
                            Hemen Parekh
                            Jan 7, 2016 at 5:31 am
                            Second Cl Citizens ? If you live in any city other than Delhi , you are a second cl citizen ! At least , the Supreme Court of India seems to think so ! What else can explain its deep concern for the health of Delhi-ites , while choosing to overlook the fact that Diesel Vehicle Pollution is equally damaging the lungs of the lesser beings, living in dozens of other cities ? Or does SC think that pollution related situation in these other cities has yet not reached a level of alarm ? Or that time is not yet " ripe " for it to concern itself with future of the children of people living in these other cities ? Is it possible that SC is waiting for some citizens of these lesser cities to file a PIL ? May be SC thinks its "Judicial Activism" does not legitimately extend beyond the NCR ? I fondly believe ( even now ) that for the Common Man of this country , SC is the only real " Maa - Baap " which steps in whenever the Government Officers / MLAs / MPs , fail to take timely decisions to protect the health of its Citizens , everywhere I still very much believe that SC has , time and again , proved that it is the Court of Last Resort I hope SC has read in papers ,the figures of AQI ( Air Quality Index ) in other cities In any case , I hope that , on its own , SC will take SUO MOTO cognizance of this blog and treat it as a PIL to enlarge its recent orders to cover the rest of India ! A WORD OF CAUTION : If Hon Judges of the Supreme Court were to read the rest of my blogs at , , they may take SUO MOTO cognizance of many and keep aside PILs from Prashant Bhushan / Subramanian Swami ! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- hemen parekh 07 Jan 2015 hemenparekh / blogs
                            1. J
                              Jun 5, 2016 at 6:14 pm
                              The improvement in air quality can't be taken as solid evidence that the ban was effective because:lt;br/gt;1. There will be temporary improvement due to less vehicles on the road... but soon all these car owners will buy petrol vehicle. Then only can we obtain solid data about pollution;br/gt;2. Since the above mentioned vehicle drivers face huge loss from buying vehicle that can't be used, they will buy cheap petrol vehicle and create more pollution problem than;br/gt;3.Vehicle without pollution check or those who drive erratically will create more pollution irrespective of;br/gt; The true solution is to find alternate green fuel which is cheap and easy accessible. Car manufacturers should contribute resources,start their own research and can be the first to benefit from any developments.
                              1. K
                                Kayaka Sharana
                                Jan 5, 2016 at 7:36 pm
                                Weren't there enough laws in this country to check emissions? The government agencies can't work hard enough to ensure those laws are implemented. In any case diesel vehicles should be taken off the roads from every place if they are so dangerous to public health. Why only stop new s, the old indicas and heavy duty three wheelers and garbage collecting trucks are as bad as they get. So take away all old diesel vehicles too!
                                1. K
                                  Jan 6, 2016 at 7:02 am
                                  The Supreme court has taking us in right direction. The people will never sacrifice love for SUV/Diesel cars, even at the cost of environment. Only tough rules can help control the pollution. Need to ban all Old vehicles, Old diesel autos (can see several in Gurgaon, Noida), public transport, diesel generators and complete NCR.
                                  1. M
                                    Minit nagar
                                    Apr 7, 2016 at 4:27 pm
                                    Banned diesel cars can lead to driver poverty so gov take cheap CNG installation in car
                                    1. M
                                      Jan 5, 2016 at 10:33 am
                                      India’s automakers say they want a comprehensive plan : That means automakers want their say and dump Highly polluting cars in the indian market ie already crazy that belives owning a car is a status cymbal compounded by Banks that doles out cash for interest
                                      1. R
                                        May 19, 2016 at 7:30 am
                                        Does this judge emit oxygen ?Its not about pollution. Its about trying to control our behavior. These green groups are stupid. Large diesel cars are some of the most efficient these days.
                                        1. N
                                          Nitin Saxena
                                          May 2, 2016 at 10:21 am
                                          This led to increase in crime in Delhi NCR.
                                          1. P
                                            Pankaj Sajwan
                                            May 2, 2016 at 7:06 am
                                            This is not a good decision because this decision is related to the survival of poor taxy drivers....
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