The Supreme Court on Monday ordered imposition of an environment compensation charge (ECC) on commercial vehicles entering Delhi.
The move, an attempt to keep a check on the high pollution levels in the city, will be effective from November 1 for four months till February 29, 2016.
The environment cess will in addition to the toll tax.
The formal order by the bench of chief justice HL Dattu was released on Monday evening. It read that the charges will be payable at the rate of `700 for light duty vehicles and two-axle vehicles and `1,300 for three-axle vehicles and above.
The Delhi government will issue an appropriate direction in accordance with the order. In the third week of February the top court will review its order when other stakeholders such as corporation bodies will be allowed to make their submissions.
Taking note of a Centre for Science and Environment study that about 23% of the commercial vehicles and 40-60% of the heavy trucks entering the city were not destined for Delhi, the court said it was necessary to impose the charges, along with the MCD toll, to equalise the difference in cost in travelling through alternative routes.
The SC order nullified the October 7 National Green Tribunal order on the same issue. The CJI’s bench made it clear that “its order will override any order to the contrary by any authority”.
“Amicus curiae Harish Salve, solicitor general Ranjit Kumar and Dushyant Dave, senior counsel appearing for the Government of NCT Delhi have jointly suggested that the environment compensation charge ought to be imposed by the Delhi government,” read the order.
“On due consideration, we do not see any reason not to accept the above suggestion. Accordingly, we approve the suggested arrangements,” said the bench, adding that passenger buses, vehicles carrying essential commodities, food articles and ambulances would be exempted from paying the ECC.