A group of taxi owners have approached the Supreme Court seeking modification of its order directing commercial passenger vehicles to convert to CNG by March 31.
They said the order is discriminatory because it targets a small percentage of vehicles belonging to weaker sections and ignores a huge chunk of polluting private diesel cars.
They say conversion to CNG is technologically and financially not viable.
Already paying vehicle loan instalments to banks, the petitioners said the order will hit them financially. Conversion from diesel to CNG is expensive and will put additional burden on them, they said.
A bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur had on December 16 last year banned registration of diesel cars with engine capacity of 2000cc or more in the National Capital Region (NCR), including Delhi.
In a bid to bring down pollution in Delhi, it directed taxis, including those run by aggregators such as Ola and Uber, to convert to CNG by March 31, 2016.
Orders were issued to the petroleum ministry to ensure that 104 gas stations begin operations in NCR by then.
Diesel taxis were exempted from the Delhi government’s road rationing scheme. Buoyed by the success of the 15-day trial in January, the government will roll out the second phase in April.
Due to the top court’s order, the diesel taxis may not be exempted this time.
The taxi owners told the SC that the government failed to provide enough CNG filling stations. “Conversion will be a wasteful exercise and will effectively deny the applicants their legitimate source of livelihood,” the petition said.
If the court wants conversion of diesel vehicles, it should start with private ones first, the petition said.
Based on details under the Right to Information Act, the taxi owners said more than three lakh private diesel cars were registered between April 2010 and February 2016 against 28,174 commercial ones.
High court order:
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed Ola, Uber and the radio taxis’ association to give details, including registration numbers, of the cabs operators intend to phase out by March 31.
Justice JR Midha gave time till April 10 to submit the details along with an affidavit in a sealed cover and listed it for hearing on April 18.