The Supreme Court on Monday banned 15-year-old petrol vehicles and diesel vehicles that are a decade old from plying in the National Capital Region, PTI reported. The court instructed the transport department to impound such vehicles if they are found on the road.

A list of these vehicles should be published on the websites of the Central Pollution Control Board and the transport department, and an advertisement should be published in newspapers, the court said.

In 2015, the National Green Tribunal had banned 15-year-old petrol vehicles and 10-year-old diesel vehicles. The following year, the tribunal directed authorities in Delhi to begin deregistering all diesel vehicles in the capital that are more than a decade old.

Justices Madan B Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta announced the directions on Monday after amicus curiae Aparajita Singh submitted a note on air pollution in the national capital, seeking urgent measures to correct the prevailing situation. The court described the situation as “very critical”.

The Supreme Court told the pollution control agency to immediately set up a social media account where citizens can directly lodge pollution-related complaints. It also allowed the court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority to take preemptive steps under the Graded Response Action Plan without strict adherence to pollution stages as mentioned in the plan. The plan contains steps to combat air pollution in the National Capital Region and adjoining areas and is designed to take remedial measures when air quality deteriorates.

Most air quality monitoring stations in Delhi continued to show “very poor” or “severe” readings on Monday. The overall air quality index for the national capital was 375 in the evening – only marginally better than the reading of 381 on Sunday afternoon but still “very poor”, Central Pollution Conrol Board data showed. A thick haze has enveloped the city since Sunday, when the air quality was at its worst of the season so far.