NCR People should be allowed to breathe, says forest bench.
Observing that people in the National Capital Region (NCR) “should be allowed to breathe,” the Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre’s response on a plea demanding additional levy of an “environment compensation charge” on all privately-owned diesel and petrol cars.
“People should be allowed to breathe. It is indeed a very important issue and we will look into it,” said a forest bench led by Justice Aftab Alam while issuing notice to the Central government on the application, which also asked for imposing an environment compensation charge to the tune of 25 per cent of the price of a new diesel car that could be collected by the dealer at the time of sale.
Appearing as amicus curiae in the PIL, senior advocate Harish Salve said the application wanted a direction for charging an annual levy of 4 per cent of the price of a diesel car and 2 per cent of the price of a petrol car on all existing private cars in the NCR. “This money should be charged by the insurance company at the time of renewal of their insurance and must precede as a condition of such renewal,” he said.
On the question of levying 25 per cent of the price of a new diesel car on the buyer, Salve said the idea was to discourage people from indiscriminately buying diesel cars which have damaging environment effect. In his application, Salve said pollution levels in the NCR have touched unhealthy levels, especially after the onset of winter, and pose a serious health hazard.
“It’s only the-polluter’s-pay principle and hence, users of cars must pay. The price differential between a petrol car and a diesel car is for a logical reason. Whosoever damages the environment must pay in that proportion. The money collected from such cess could be used for undoing the damage and improving the situation,” Salve said.
He submitted that Delhi was adding roughly 1,400 personal vehicles everyday and though each new generation of vehicles had been using cleaner fuel, the gain was lost because of the daily addition of the number of vehicles on the road.
While agreeing with Salve, the bench reminded him that equally important was strengthening the public transport system which, it said, could discourage people from buying cars.
“You should also talk about strengthening public transport system. That is the basic issue according to us since that