Top car manufacturers – Mercedes, Toyota, Mahindra and General Motors – have moved the Supreme Court asking it to modify its last month’s order banning registration of diesel SUVs and luxury cars with engine capacity of 2000cc or more in Delhi and the National Capital Region.
The petitions were mentioned before a bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, which agreed to hear them on January 5. It would be heard along with the case related to levy of environment compensation charge (ECC) on trucks entering Delhi.
Justice Thakur’s bench had on December 16 issued a slew of measures to clean up Delhi — the most polluted city in the world — and ruled that trucks not carrying cargo for Delhi will not be permitted in through entry points at National Highways 1 (Kundli border) and 8 (Delhi-Jaipur). Trucks registered on or before 2005 will not enter Delhi at all, it ordered.
The ban had strongly hit the sales of luxury car manufacturers since most of their sales come from diesel vehicles and Delhi is one of the most crucial markets for them. The order had affected the sales of over 60 cars from different manufacturers.
On behalf of Toyota senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Vijay Sondhi told the court that their client was the manufacturer of Innova, used mostly by the common person for earning his or her livelihood and that the prohibition had a tremendous impact on the middle class for whom the car was the sole mode of their income.
Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Mahindra, said his client too manufactured automobiles mostly used in the rural areas and for the common man.
According to the companies the new cars comply with the latest emission standards, which is BS-IV. However, the maximum cars plying on city roads do not conform to the prevailing emission norms and that they were one of the major contributors to the alarming levels of pollutants in the Capital. BS-IV compliant vehicles only constitute 24 per cent of the total number of diesel vehicles registered in the NCR.
The companies claim the ban prevents transition of such vehicles to opt for cleaner fuel technology.
The SC order, they state, does not consider the actual cause of the existing levels of pollution nor does it identify the actual polluters.
“Prohibiting the registration of new BS-IV compliant vehicles shall not result in the desired reduction of air pollution in NCR, especially when more polluting diesel vehicles continue to ply on roads,” read Toyota’s petition.