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Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi sought six weeks time for the government to present the solution, and the court agreed to the proposal. Photo: Mint
Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi sought six weeks time for the government to present the solution, and the court agreed to the proposal. Photo: Mint

Supreme Court reserves order on lifting of ban on diesel vehicle sales

The Supreme Court urged the Centre to conduct a study considering the viewpoint of all stakeholders and arrive at a solution

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday reserved orders on a ban on the sale of diesel vehicles with engine capacity of 2,000cc or more in Delhi.

The Centre, represented by Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi asked a bench headed by Chief Justice T.S Thakur for modification of the ban order while stating that imposing an environmental cess in lieu of lifting the ban could not be undertaken by a court.

“It would not be appropriate for a court to impose a cess of any kind, this can only be done through a legislative scheme." he said.

It was further suggested that instead of the court imposing a cess, the Centre could conduct a study considering the viewpoint of all stakeholders and arrive at a solution.

Rohtagi sought six weeks time for the government to present the solution, and the court agreed to the proposal.

He also informed the court of the Centre’s plan of undertaking a scrapping scheme in 2017 by way of which anybody could get scrap value for their 10-15 years old diesel car, leading to their effective phase out.

Luxury carmakers Mercedes Benz and Toyota which claimed they were the worst hit by the ban order since most of their cars were more than 2,000 cc engine size, offered to pay 1% green cess on the sale of their cars hereon.

Gopal Subramanium, counsel for Mercedes Benz assured the court that its diesel cars underwent necessary approvals and certification by independent agencies ensuring that they confirmed to the environmental benchmarks for pollution control.

The Centre which moved the court seeking modification of the apex courts’ ban order of 16 December, 2015, told the court that presumption of bigger engines emitting higher emissions was untrue.

The ban order which was initially operative till 31 March was extended by the court while indicating the possibility of imposing an additional environment cess on purchase of high end diesel vehicles.

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