NGT allows automakers to seek clarity

Traffic jam at Delhi Gurgaon Expressway due to protest by diesel vehicle owners against SC's ban on them. Photo: ANI

File photo of a traffic jam at Delhi Gurgaon Expressway due to protest by diesel vehicle owners against SC's ban on them. Photo: ANI


  The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday has allowed Tata Motors and other automakers (and automotive societies) to file applications on September 27 seeking clarifications on previous orders of the tribunal regarding the scrapping of diesel vehicles in Delhi.

Tata had contended that the NGT order applied to private vehicles alone, and said the Delhi government had interpreted this to include commercial vehicles and was refusing to register these.

A bench headed by Swatanter Kumar has listed the application alongside the date given to Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand to put forth arguments on behalf of the ministry of heavy industries.

The ASG is expected to submit arguments against a July 18 order of the NGT directing the de-registration of diesel vehicles over 10 years old in the national capital. The ministry had in a previous affidavit said the government cannot comply with the tribunal’s order as there is no law in place that allows such de-registration. “There is no provision in the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, as amended in 2015 or any rule made thereunder that has been violated by the motor vehicles whose registration has been ordered to be cancelled,” the affidavit said. The ministry has also contended that such de-registration will lead to challenges by vehicle owners.

Tata’s application to the NGT seeks to clarify a separate order, first passed by the green bench on December 11, 2015, stopping registration of diesel vehicles in Delhi. Thereafter, the tribunal said it would not pass further orders as the Supreme Court had taken up the issue of air pollution caused by diesel vehicles. The SC had banned the registration of diesel SUV’s and high end vehicles with engine capacities of 2000cc and above in the national capital on December 16, 2015, but removed the prohibition on August 12 by imposing a one per cent environmental cess on ex-showroom prices.  

The tribunal has also allowed applications of vintage car owners, who have sought exemptions from the de-registration order, and has allowed them to submit arguments on September 26.