India: Supreme Court bans registration of diesel vehicles beyond 2000cc for three months

The court asks the Centre and Delhi government to work together and fix norms to clean the city’s toxic air

delhi st pollution
A ban on the registration of diesel engine cars in India's capital New Delhi was imposed by the court to address air pollution. Image: Daniel J. Rao /

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered to ban the registration of diesel vehicles beyond 2000cc for three months on a trial basis.

The curb will come into effect on January 1, 2016 and will affect the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) segment and big trucks.

Earlier on Tuesday, December 15, the court had indicated that a might be enforced soon. 

Car dealers had filed a separate plea in the Supreme Court, asking the court to allow stock sale for this year. They also wanted a modification of the National Green Tribunal order passed on December 12 in which the NGT had banned registration of diesel vehicles in the city. The final order is expected on December 16. 

The court may also double the Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) on commercial vehicles entering the city, besides a complete ban on vehicles only passing through the city. ECC was fixed between Rs 700 and Rs 1,300 by the court in October earlier this year. 

The court endorsed the odd-even number plate-based traffic rationalisation system proposed by the Delhi government, asking it to implement the scheme on its own on a trial basis and then decide the future course of action.

It asked the concerned authorities to ensure that only CNG taxis run in Delhi and that Euro 4-ready fuel is available in the city and on national highways.

The Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice T S Thakur, asked the Centre and the Delhi government to formulate norms to keep the city’s air clean. “You formulate the norms, prescribe the regime. Why don’t you do it?  You take the credit for cleaning Delhi. Why do you let the opportunity go?” the bench said. 

Read full court order here

The court also observed that adulteration of fuel is rampant across the city with petrol stations using kerosene in fuels. 

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