Millennium Post

Apex Court bans new diesel vehicles

A Bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur, Justice A K Sikri and Justice R Banumathi said no commercial vehicle registered prior to 2005 would enter Delhi and all taxis would have to switch over to CNG by March 1, 2016.

A 100 per cent increase in ECC would mean that light commercial vehicles with two axles loaded with goods will pay Rs 1,400 and loaded commercial vehicles with three and four axles will pay Rs 2,600 to enter the national Capital.

However, empty commercial vehicles in both categories would continue to pay the old ECC of Rs 700 and Rs 1,300 respectively.

Banning the registration of SUVs and private cars of the capacity of 2,000 CC and above using diesel as fuel up to March 31, the court said: “We are of the view that the new commercial light duty diesel vehicles can for the present continue being registered in Delhi on account of the dependence of the public on such vehicles for supply of essentials.”

The judges noted that diesel vehicles with engine capacity of 2,000 cc and above are prone to causing higher pollution level and were used by the more affluent.

“A ban on registration of such vehicles will not therefore affect the common man or the average citizen in Delhi,” the court said.

The court also directed that all taxis including those operating under aggregators like OLA and UBER in the NCT shall move to CNG not later than March 1, 2016.

Having doubled the ECC for the loaded commercial vehicles, the court said commercial vehicles “registered in 2005 or earlier shall not qualify for such entry” and asked state governments and union territories to ensure that vehicles bearing registration numbers of 2005 or earlier do not enter Delhi. The court noted that its October 7 order imposing the ECC was intended to restrain non-Delhi bound vehicles from entering the national capital. But it appears to have been understood to mean that vehicles not bound for Delhi could also enter by paying ECC.

“We consider it necessary to make it clear that no vehicle which is not bound for Delhi will be allowed to enter from NH-8, which connects Jaipur to Delhi and NH-1 that connects Punjab, Haryana and other northern states with Delhi via Kundli border.”

The judges said traffic from Kundli and Rajokri border shall be diverted to bypass Delhi. These account for the maximum number of vehicles entering Delhi.

The court said that all those engaged in construction activity would observe the Central Pollution Control Board norms by putting curtains and other devices at construction sites.

It directed the state government and municipal bodies not to burn waste and dispose of these in a scientific manner.

“Passenger vehicles, ambulances and vehicles carrying essential commodities like food stuffs and oil tankers for Delhi were exempted from the above charges (ECC),” the bench clarified.

Vehicles, bound for Delhi, may enter on payment of ECC, it said, asking the state governments and Union Territories concerned to “ensure that vehicles bearing registration numbers of the year 2005 or earlier do not enter Delhi” and evolve a system for implementation of its directions.

It said that the restraint order on commercial vehicles, which are not Delhi-bound, are limited two entry points, NH-VIII and NH-I, as the figures suggest that the largest number of vehicles enter from these two points. The court, hearing various pleas including the 1984 PIL filed by Environmentalist M C Mehta, asked the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan to take steps “to ensure that commercial traffic for destinations other than Delhi use alternative routes and to ensure that in the course of implementation of the said direction no traffic jams and other inconvenience is caused to the public.”

It also asked city government to “issue advertisements to inform commercial traffic of the bypass routes and the imposition of the ECC imposed by this court for entry of the vehicles into Delhi.”

The court directed Delhi government to take immediate steps for repair of pavements and procure requisite “vacuum cleaning vehicles” for use on Delhi roads expeditiously but not later than April 1, next year.

The Bench agreed to the contention that construction activities in Delhi and NCR contribute in the rise of pollution level.

The Apex Court also directed the Delhi government and the local bodies including MCDs, NDMC and others to take steps to ensure that no part of municipal waste is burnt. 
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