A three-judge Supreme Court bench on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by senior lawyer Kamini Jaiswal who had sought a Special Investigation Team inquiry into the medical colleges bribery case, Bar & Bench reported.
The court said it would not take any contempt action against the lawyers, but “strongly deprecated” their attempt at forum shopping, or getting the case heard by a particular court.
The case, which the Central Bureau of Investigation is looking into, involves allegations that former members of the higher judiciary took bribes to manipulate court orders in favour of medical colleges that had failed to get official registrations.
The Supreme Court on Monday had said that the entire country was “doubting the credibility” of the justice system. “If such allegations [are] to be considered like in this manner, then no judge will be spared,” Justice Arun Mishra had told Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for petitioner Jaiswal. “The whole country is now doubting the credibility of this institution.” The allegations amounted to a deliberate attempt to scandalise the institution and denigrate the system, he had said.
Controversy in Supreme Court
Jaiswal’s petition was mentioned on November 9 before a two-judge bench headed by Justice Chelameswar for urgent hearing. The judge decided to take up the petition. This bench referred the matter to a larger five-judge Constitution bench on November 13. The petitioners had said that the bench should exclude Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who handled cases related to the Medical Council of India earlier this year, as there would be a conflict of interest.
A similar petition was slated to be heard by another bench on November 10. However, a Constitution bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in an unprecedented hearing, nullified Justice Chelameswar’s order from November 9. The bench had said “the chief justice is the master of the roster” and no other judges of the Supreme Court can constitute benches.
On November 11, the Supreme Court even issued a circular that from now on, all unassigned or unlisted cases can be mentioned only before the chief justice of India.
Making two-wheelers less polluting to combat air pollution in India
Innovations focusing on two-wheelers can make a difference in facing the challenges brought about by climate change.
Two-wheelers are the lifeline of urban Asia, where they account for more than half of the vehicles owned in some countries. This trend is amply evident in India, where sales in the sub-category of mopeds alone rose 23% in 2016-17. In fact, one survey estimates that today one in every three Indian households owns a two-wheeler.
What explains the enduring popularity of two-wheelers? In one of the fastest growing economies in the world, two-wheeler ownership is a practical aspiration in small towns and rural areas, and a tactic to deal with choked roads in the bigger cities. Two-wheelers have also allowed more women to commute independently with the advent of gearless scooters and mopeds. Together, these factors have led to phenomenal growth in overall two-wheeler sales, which rose by 27.5% in the past five years, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). Indeed, the ICE 2016 360 survey says that two-wheelers are used by 37% of metropolitan commuters to reach work, and are owned by half the households in India’s bigger cities and developed rural areas.
Amid this exponential growth, experts have cautioned about two-wheelers’ role in compounding the impact of pollution. Largely ignored in measures to control vehicular pollution, experts say two-wheelers too need to be brought in the ambit of pollution control as they contribute across most factors determining vehicular pollution - engine technology, total number of vehicles, structure and age of vehicles and fuel quality. In fact, in major Indian cities, two-thirds of pollution load is due to two-wheelers. They give out 30% of the particulate matter load, 10 percentage points more than the contribution from cars. Additionally, 75% - 80% of the two-wheelers on the roads in some of the Asian cities have two-stroke engines which are more polluting.
The Bharat Stage (BS) emissions standards are set by the Indian government to regulate pollutants emitted by vehicles fitted with combustion engines. In April 2017, India’s ban of BS III certified vehicles in favour of the higher BS IV emission standards came into effect. By April 2020, India aims to leapfrog to the BS VI standards, being a signatory to Conference of Parties protocol on combating climate change. Over and above the BS VI norms target, the energy department has shown a clear commitment to move to an electric-only future for automobiles by 2030 with the announcement of the FAME scheme (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in India).
The struggles of on-ground execution, though, remain herculean for automakers who are scrambling to upgrade engine technology in time to meet the deadlines for the next BS norms update. As compliance with BS VI would require changes in the engine system itself, it is being seen as one of the most mammoth R&D projects undertaken by the Indian automotive industry in recent times. Relative to BS IV, BS VI norms mandate a reduction of particulate matter by 82% and of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by 68%.
Emission control in fuel based two-wheelers can be tackled on several fronts. Amongst post-emission solutions, catalytic converters are highly effective. Catalytic converters transform exhaust emissions into less harmful compounds. They can be especially effective in removing hydrocarbons, nitrous oxides and carbon monoxide from the exhaust.
At the engine level itself, engine oil additives are helpful in reducing emissions. Anti-wear additives, friction modifiers, high performance fuel additives and more lead to better performance, improved combustion and a longer engine life. The improvement in the engine’s efficiency as a result directly correlates to lesser emissions over time. Fuel economy of a vehicle is yet another factor that helps determine emissions. It can be optimised by light weighting, which lessens fuel consumption itself. Light weighting a vehicle by 10 pounds can result in a 10-15-pound reduction of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Polymer systems that can bear a lot of stress have emerged as reliable replacements for metals in automotive construction.
BASF, the pioneer of the first catalytic converter for automobiles, has been at the forefront of developing technology to help automakers comply with advancing emission norms while retaining vehicle performance and cost-efficiency. Its new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Mahindra World City near Chennai is equipped to develop a range of catalysts for diverse requirements, from high performance and recreational bikes to economy-oriented basic transportation. BASF also leverages its additives expertise to provide compounded lubricant solutions, such as antioxidants, anti-wear additives and corrosion inhibitors and more. At the manufacturing level, BASF’s R&D in engineered material systems has led to the development of innovative materials that are much lighter than metals, yet just as durable and strong. These can be used to manufacture mirror brackets, intake pipes, step holders, clutch covers, etc.
With innovative solutions on all fronts of automobile production, BASF has been successfully collaborating with various companies in making their vehicles emission compliant in the most cost-effective way. You can read more about BASF’s innovations in two-wheeler emission control here, lubricant solutions here and light weighting solutions here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of BASF and not by the Scroll editorial team.