German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) has moved the Supreme Court against the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) order slapping a Rs 500 crore penalty on the firm for installing ‘cheat devices’ in its diesel cars in India to deceive emission tests.
While directing Volkswagen to pay the fine within two months, NGT on March 7 had said that the funds will be utilised towards improving air quality in the NCR of Delhi and other highly polluted areas. The tribunal had on November 16 last directed the firm to deposit an interim amount of Rs 100 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Stating that the NGT order is “arbitrary and unreasonable”, VW said the fine was imposed even when an NGT-appointed committee (CPCB) report found that vehicles of the Volkswagen Group companies are in compliance with regulatory environmental norms in India.
VW said the NGT has based its findings on the basis of “on road” tests which have no legal basis or validity under Indian law. “The NGT has imposed a penalty of Rs 500 crore upon the Volkswagen Group companies, without determining any provision of law that has been violated,” it said in its appeal to the apex court.
Citing another International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) report, the company said emissions from Hyundai and Mahindra vehicles were four to six times the BS-IV norms, which is substantially higher than the alleged higher emissions from vehicles of Volkswagen Group companies when tested on road.
An NGT-appointed committee had earlier in January recommended a penalty of Rs 171.34 crore on Volkswagen as a means of “creating deterrence” for causing “health damages” and air pollution in Delhi due to excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. This fine was enhanced to Rs 500 crore by the NGT on March 7.
On January 17, the NGT had slammed VW for not depositing Rs 100 crore, imposed on it for damaging the environment and directed it to submit the amount within 24 hours failing which its directors would be sent to jail. —FE