16 December 2015 06:44:15 IST

Apex court may stop registration of diesel SUVs, heavy vehicles in Delhi

Likely to hike green cess on trucks entering the Capital by 100%

Amid mounting concerns over alarming pollution levels, the Supreme Court indicated on Tuesday that it may bar registration of diesel-run SUVs, cars with engine capacity of over 2,000 cc and commercial vehicles for three-four months, besides hiking by 100 per cent the green cess levied on trucks entering Delhi.

On October 12 the court had ordered that light duty vehicles would have to pay ₹700 and three-axle vehicles ₹1,300 to enter Delhi in addition to the toll tax from November 1 as ‘Environment Compensation Charge’ (ECC) in a bid to check pollution.

A bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur said that it may increase by 100 per cent the ECC on commercial vehicles using Delhi roads as a transit for their onward journey to destinations outside the national capital. Now, the light duty vehicles may have to pay ₹1,400 and three-axle vehicles ₹2,600 as ECC to enter Delhi.

The bench, also including Justices AK Sikri and R Banumathi, is likely to pronounce the interim directions on Wednesday as it ran out of time. During the three-hour-long hearing, the Bench asked the counsel representing the Centre and the Delhi government to come out with comprehensive long- and short-term plans to tackle the high air pollution levels in the city.

“Why don’t you people take credit for cleaning Delhi air? You could enumerate the steps to be taken and why you are asking the court to do it,” it said. The court said that as an interim measure, for three-four months, it may ban registration of SUVs and high-end cars having engine capacity of over 2,000 cc, besides banning entry of commercial vehicles registered prior to 2005 into Delhi.

Industry estimates indicate that about 1,000 SUVs of 2,000 cc or more are sold in Delhi NCR every month. It also said that only CNG cabs should run on Delhi roads and that a ban on burning of municipal waste had to be enforced strictly, besides calling for introduction of Euro-IV vehicle emission norms.

The Bench was hearing various pleas, including a 1984 PIL filed by environmentalist MC Mehta. On the issue of the Delhi government’s “odd—even” plan for private vehicles, the Bench said: “We cannot say anything on it. We are not too sure that this is the only way. This is one of the measures. It is for you (Delhi government ) to implement.”

The Chief Justice, however, observed that “he won’t hesitate” to car pool with “brother judges“.

The court also said that it would direct the apex court registry to provide a bicycle stand as desired by senior advocate KTS Tulsi.