The government on Tuesday told the Delhi high court that it would consider the representation of lawyers to exempt them from the next rounds of the odd-even scheme. However, it said they could not be exempted from the ongoing phase of the scheme.
Delhi High Court Bar Association president Rajiv Khosla has been spearheading a petition to exempt lawyers from the purview of the road rationing scheme saying that “lawyers are a different class”.
“Next time if the scheme is implemented, we will consider the matter,” Delhi government’s senior standing counsel, Rahul Mehra, told a bench of chief justice G Rohini and justice Jayant Nath.
The bench, however, remarked, “This is a fact that many sections of people are facing inconvenience. Even Parliamentarians are being inconvenienced”.
The Delhi government had said the odd-even scheme was reintroduced in “light of the dangerous levels of pollution that have plagued the NCT and is harming people’s health.” It had told the court that a “massive public opinion” exercise was carried out on the issue.
However, Khosla had contended that despite the HC ordering the government to consider their representation before implementing the second phase of the scheme, lawyers have not been included in the exempted list.
Khosla, who is the petitioner in the case, had also said, “The number of cars used by lawyers per day here is only about 3,000.” He also gave the break-up of cars used by lawyers in the high court, the Supreme Court, district courts, etc.
“The Supreme Court says we cannot go on strike,” Khosla said, while stressing that lawyers belong to a different class.
“Lawyers have to carry books and files. Lawyers have to reach courts on time. The working of the courts cannot come to a standstill if they are not present due to this scheme,” he said.
He also challenged the Rs 2,000 fine for violators of the scheme without amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act.
Referring to newspaper reports, Khosla argued the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) also said the pollution level had not come down during the odd-even scheme.
The bench, however, did not go into the other legal issues and kept it pending for adjudication at a later stage.