- Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
- Updated: Dec 16, 2015 14:04 IST
The Supreme Court banned the registration of new diesel luxury cars and SUVs with an engine capacity of over 2000 cc until March 31 in a bid to clean up Delhi’s filthy air. (AP Photo)
The Supreme Court banned, on Wednesday, the registration of new diesel-guzzling luxury cars and SUVs with an engine capacity of over 2000 cc until March 31, unveiling a raft of measures in a bid to clean up the Capital’s filthy air.
The decision effectively stops the sale of popular vehicles such as Toyota’s Innova, Mahindra & Mahindra’s Scorpio, the Tata Safari and Sumo, and Mitsubishi Pajero during the ban period, but existing diesel cars can continue to ply.
It also hurts luxury car-makers across the board as most of their best-sellers are diesel-driven. For instance, the smallest diesel engine for segment leader Mercedes is 2,143cc. Existing diesel cars can continue to ply.
The apex court, however, said it would consider a plea for new registrations when Euro-4 diesel engines with improved emission standards are introduced in April next year. It added that buyers of diesel vehicles should pay environment compensation charge while getting their cars registered.
Delhi has 8.5 million vehicles — up 97% from 2000 — and adds 1,400 new cars to its streets every day, contributing to a hazardous blanket of smog that intensifies during the winter months, triggering a slew of respiratory and life-threatening diseases.
The SC bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur also banned the entry of trucks registered before 2005 into the city and hiked up by 100% the Green cess levied on commercial vehicles entering Delhi.
Any commercial vehicle not bound for Delhi will no longer be allowed to enter the city through entry points at National Highway 1 and 8 while all taxis and cab services — Ola, Uber or otherwise — will have to shift to CNG by March 31.
The order comes days after the Delhi government announced a radical road rationing formula -– to be implemented from January 1 — wherein odd and even numbered cars will be kept off the roads on alternate days.
The SC bench had made strong observations on the matter on Tuesday, asserting that they would not allow the rich to buy such vehicles that polluted the air and affected public health.
“Why should a rich man travel in a diesel car and pollute the environment,” the bench had said.
The Delhi government has already announced more measures to curb pollution — vacuum-cleaning of roads by April and phasing out two thermal power plants at Rajghat and Badarpur.