The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its judgment on imposing environment cess on diesel vehicles in Delhi-NCR, after putting a ban on the registration of diesel vehicles of more than 2000 cc. Major automakers had earlier approached the Supreme Court and urging the bench to lift the ban.
During the hearing on Monday, the Amicus curiae told the court that the price incentive on a diesel vehicle is about 20 per cent without taking the environment cess into account. They also suggested that the government must act swiftly in this matter and come out with a draft suggestion in six weeks’ time.
Leading automakers requested the Supreme Court that Mercedes-Benz and Toyota are suffering the most due to the ban on diesel vehicles in Delhi-NCR. Moreover, they also gave a commitment to deposit one per cent of the selling price in an escrow account to the government authorities and urged the Supreme Court once again to lift the ban on the sale of vehicles more than 2000 cc.
The automakers’ plea to lift the ban on the registration of diesel vehicles with engines bigger than 2000cc was backed by the Centre which assured the Supreme Court that the government will undertake a study to assess how much environment cess should be imposed on diesel vehicles. The Centre also said that engines with higher capacities pollute less and adhere to higher emission norms.
However, Mukul Rohatgi, the Attorney General of India said, “We will take the arguments of both sides into account, but there are huge investments of foreign companies that must be taken into account. When the highest court of the country is hearing the matter, tribunals should not threaten about extending the ban to 15 or 20 cities.”
The Centre also said that in the West, all public buses and taxis are diesel and requested that diesel should not be viewed as the devil. Moreover, the Centre is planning to launch a scrapping scheme where people can come in, get a price from the government and dispose their old car. This policy is expected to come out by 2017, at a huge cost to the government.