NGT hearing on diesel vehicle ban deferred till August 9

  • Ritam Halder, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 02, 2016 15:07 IST
The Centre is expected to oppose NGT’s order to phase out more than 15 years old diesel vehicles in Delhi. (Parveen Kumar/HT File Photo)

The green tribunal on Tuesday deferred till August 9 the hearing on the NGT’s order to phase out more than 15 years old diesel vehicles in Delhi.

The Centre was expected to oppose the green court’s order to phase out more than 15 years old diesel vehicles in Delhi.

The Union government had on July 29 challenged the national green tribunal’s order to phase out diesel vehicles, saying there was no legal provision for the move described by a carmaker as a “corporate death penalty”.

The NGT has come out with several orders to bring down air pollution in Delhi, rated among the dirtiest capitals in the world. But its recent orders against diesel vehicles have caused concern in the industry as well as the government.

In an affidavit filed on July 29, the ministry of heavy industries ministry told the NGT that its orders were in “contravention” of the motor vehicle act.

“At present no legal provisions exist under which diesel vehicles that are more than 15 years old and are BS-I or BS-II compliant could be scrapped,” it said.

The “forcible scrapping” of vehicles could give rise to litigation and such an order would amount to penalising vehicle owners who complied with the law of the land, the ministry said.

The NGT, the country’s only exclusive court for hearing environmental matters, had on July 18 asked Delhi’s transport authorities to cancel registration of diesel-fuelled vehicles that were older than 10 years. Two days later, it asked the Delhi government to first focus on vehicles order than 15 years.

These orders came on a petition by lawyer Vardhaman Kaushik against poor air quality in the city.

The uncertainty has seen carmakers such as General Motors and Ford say that they are rethinking their investments plans in India. Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota, has challenged the ban, saying the NGT order on diesel vehicles across the country was like a “corporate death penalty” as it had an impact on the existence of the company.

Diesel vehicles older than 15 years are already banned in the national capital region. The Supreme Court has also stopped registration of new diesel vehicles with engine capacity of 2000CC and above and ordered all diesel taxis to convert to compressed natural gas.

Vehicular emissions are among the main causes of air pollution and diesel one of the biggest contributors.

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