Following the example set by the Chief Justice of India, seven more judges of the Supreme Court carpooled to work Wednesday to comply with the Delhi government’s pollution-control plan.
Justices J Chelameswar, FMI Kalifulla, Madan B Lokur, V Gopala Gowda, P C Ghose, Kurian Joseph and Uday U Lalit lent their support to the cause and carpooled to work, as judges with even-numbered cars picked up other judges living nearby.
Justice Kalifulla gave a ride to Justices Gowda and Ghose, while Justice Lokur picked up Justice Joseph on his way to court. Justice Lalit travelled in Justice Chelameswar’s vehicle. The judges are likely to follow this schedule till January 15, till the Delhi government’s odd-even scheme remains operational.
With this, nine judges of the apex court are now carpooling to work.
As reported first by The Indian Express, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur and Justice A K Sikri started carpooling to work from January 4 — the first working day in the top court after the winter break.
It was on January 1 that CJI Thakur and Justice Sikri, while exchanging New Year greetings, had decided to lead by example and carpool for the next 15 days. Justice Thakur has an odd-numbered car, while Justice Sikri’s vehicle is even. The two live close to each other.
The CJI and Justice Sikri are currently on the same bench and they are hearing cases related to rising pollution in the capital. The Supreme Court judges are so far the highest constitutional functionaries to have actively supported the Delhi government’s odd-even policy.
On January 5, the CJI-led bench had refused to lift 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.
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.
Nudged by the court during the hearing Tuesday, the central government also undertook to phase out all diesel vehicles older than 10 years.
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.