The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed willingness to invite Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari to share with the judges the Centre’s plan to promote electric vehicles, reported Live Law. However, the court dropped the idea later.
Chief Justice of India SA Bobde clarified he was not “indicting or ordering” Gadkari to come to the court. “The transport minister may want to tell us about the scheme and its implementation?” he said. “He has made many statements about the use of these e-vehicles, about CNG being less-polluting...we feel it would be better to hear from him [Gadkari] than any other officer, who, though responsible, may not be aware [of] the entire picture.”
The bench, which also comprised Justices Surya Kant and BR Gavai, was hearing a plea filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation on the matter of electric vehicles. Bobde said aspects of air pollution, including stubble burning, were discussed but vehicles, which he said were the largest source of pollution, were not often talked about.
Additional Solicitor General Atmaram Nadkarni, representing the Centre, said Gadkari may not be opposed to the idea of coming to court but it may be used against him politically. Following this, Bobde said that the proposal was being made on the court’s request and not lawyer Prashant Bhushan’s, who is representing the petitioner, reported Bar and Bench.
Finally, the bench did not pursue the proposal of getting an in-person submission from Gadkari and sought the assistance of the competent authority from his ministry. The case was posted for further hearing after four weeks.
Bhushan argued that the Centre was failing to execute its own policies. “The rising level of pollution could be imputable to this inaction on the part of the authorities and the absence of the requisite law,” he said. “...they [Centre] had promised that by 2020 there would be seven million hybrid vehicles! Infrastructure has to be provided to charge the batteries! What happened there? On the other hand, e-rickshaws are being restricted by the government now!”