The Narendra Modi government in Gujarat has decided to move the Supreme Court against the state high court’s order directing the administration to ensure that all new public and private four-wheelers registered in the state are run only on compressed natural gas (CNG) while existing vehicles switch over to the clean fuel within a year.
“The high court order is not practically possible to implement as it has wider implications. We will challenge it in the Supreme Court,” a senior state government official said.
The official said the order could have a big impact on the state’s revenues as Gujarat collects close to Rs. 7,000 crore annually as value-added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel sales. Gujarat accounts for 11% of total sales of the two fuels in India.
On Wednesday, a division bench headed by chief justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya ordered the Centre to provide CNG to Gujarat under the administrated price mechanism (APM) while the state was ordered to register only gas-based cars from next year.
“The state is directed to pass necessary orders within the shortest possible period, at any rate not exceeding one year from today, compelling the owners of all vehicles having registration in Gujarat to use natural gas, and if necessary, even at higher prices, for the protection of the lives of the citizens living in the state,” the court said on Wednesday.
Along with state revenue officials, car dealers in Gujarat are concerned about the court order and are thinking of challenging it at a higher forum. “This cannot be implemented at all. There cannot be a blanket ban on using cars running on petrol or diesel. The government can at best encourage the use of gas without banning petrol and diesel vehicles,” an auto dealer in Ahmedabad said.