SC extends ban on SUVs, big diesel cars in NCR, ban on entry of outbound trucks into Delhi also continues

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday left diesel car and SUV makers dejected by continuing the three-month-old ban on sale of diesel vehicles with engine capacity of 2000cc or more in their biggest market, the National Capital Region.

It also extended the ban on entry of outbound trucks into Delhi, and told Haryana and UP governments to continue diverting these carriers to roads bypassing Delhi.

The SC had imposed the ban on big diesel cars through its December 16 order and this was to remain in force till March 31. The court on Thursday remained firm in its belief that diesel cars polluted more than petrol ones and said it would continue the ban on registration of big diesel cars until it had worked out the quantum of green cess to be imposed on its sale.

A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi brushed aside the anxious requests of carmakers, including Mercedes Benz, Tata Motors and Mahindra, for relaxation of the ban on sale of cars with more than 2000cc engine capacity.

Amicus curiae Aparajita Singh informed the bench that the ban on sale of big diesel cars and the ban on entry of non-Delhi destined trucks into the capital had a positive impact on the city’s ambient air quality despite adverse weather conditions marked by absence of strong winds and rain during the January-March period.

She argued against relaxing the ban on sale of big diesel cars and pleaded with the court for imposition of a green cess on purchase of these vehicles. She said the running cost of diesel cars because of their superior fuel efficiency was 25-30% less than petrol cars.

“This incentive must be neutralized by imposing a green cess, which could be 25%-30% of the cost of a diesel car, to dissuade people from going for diesel cars,” she said.

The bench in principle appeared to agree with Singh’s argument but felt 10% of the cost of a car could be an ideal charge. “The super rich who buy these big diesel cars and SUVs won’t mind paying Rs 4 lakh to Rs 5 lakh more for these vehicles,” it said to counter the opposition from Mercedes Benz, Tata, Mahindra, Toyota, Maruti-Suzuki and Association of Automobile Manufacturers Association.

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