Supreme court cracks down harder on Delhi pollution levels, bans diesel vehicles

In a series of new rules and bans to deal with the rising level of air pollution in Delhi, including the ban on the sale of fire crackers, in the National Capital Region, and imposing a cess on diesel SUVs that have an engine capacity of over 2000cc, the Supreme Court has decided to look into the topic of whether or not the sale and registration of medium and heavy commercial vehicles that run on diesel should be banned as well.

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The new development has come just two days after the supreme court banned the registration and sale of BS-III vehicles across the country from the 1st of April. Justices Madan B Lokur and Sanjay Kishan Kaul would form the bench to take a call whether the sale of these commercial vehicles should be banned in the city as well, and looked for a response from manufacturers of such vehicles.

Tata Motors had filed a plea looking for clarification of the earlier order that was passed on 16th December 2015, with SUVs being banned till the 31st of March 2016, which was being heard at the time.

On behalf of Tata Motors, senior advocate Gopal Jain,informed the bench that the 2016 ban order was specifically meant only for SUVs and private cars. Medium and heavy commercial vehicles were not included the order.

He claimed that the transport department of Delhi assumed that registration of all diesel vehicles above 2000cc had been banned by the court, thereby asking the court to clarify the details of its order. According to what he said, this was necessary as the transport department was refusing to register any new vehicles. In an odd turn of events, the bench mulled over whether the ban should be extended to cover medium and heavy commercial vehicles as well.

The bench inquired saying, “Tell us why registration of medium and heavy commercial vehicles be not also banned. We will consider it.”

The court expressed some concern over the congestion of traffic on roads in Delhi, which only added to the problem of pollution. The court decided that the issue needed urgent attention and issued notices to the environment and transport secretaries seeking a response on the steps that had been taken to deal with the problem.

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