Environmental laws

Big diesel cars pollute less, should not be banned, Centre tells Supreme Court

The government asked the apex Court not to levy 1% anti-pollution cess on buyers and promised incentives to old vehicle owners for replacing their cars.

The Centre on Monday challenged the Supreme Court’s blanket ban on the fresh registration of diesel luxury cars and SUVs with more than 2000 cc engine capacity in the National Capital Region, saying that big and high-end diesel cars have better emission norms and pollute less than the small ones. While presenting an affidavit filed by the Ministry of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprise, the Centre said a new policy to check pollution is on the cards, reported PTI.

“Big diesel cars and SUVs have better emission norms than smaller cars. Just because a car is big and powerful does not mean it is more polluting. Besides, the more expensive a car, say Rs 75 lakh or Rs 1.5 crore, the better it is equipped against pollution,” Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a three-judge Bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices AK Sikri and R Banumathi.

The Supreme Court reserved its order on imposing a one-time green cess on buyers at the time of registration. The Centre told the apex court that taxation falls under the purview of the government and said that car makers should be asked deposit 1% of the showroom price of every 2000 CC diesel vehicle bought in Delhi to the government. However, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority argued that the aim was to prevent ‘dieselisation’ and not allow car makers to pay money and continue to pollute, reported The Hindu.

According to PTI, Rohatgi said that the government was considering monetary incentives to old vehicle owners for replacing them with the Bharat Stage-IV emissions-standard vehicles. "The government will shell out Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh to each old vehicle owner. Walk in with an old car and sell it as scrap. That is what we are planning to implement by 2017. The costs are huge, but it is for the sake of public health as these 10 to 15 year-old cars pollute 10 times more than big cars, because they follow BS-II emission norms,” said Rohatgi.

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