SC may lift ban on 2000 cc vehicles with special levy

In a bit of good news for those who wish to buy diesel-run SUVs and cars with engine capacity of 2000cc and above, the Supreme Court today said it was open to lifting the ban on their registration in Delhi and the National Capital Region subject to a levy of one-time environment compensation cess.

"We are inclined to allow registration. We are open to the registration subject to some kind of one-time cess," a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi said.

In a slew of measures to curb alarming pollution level in Delhi and NCR, the apex court had banned registration of diesel-run sports utility vehicles and high-end private cars with engine capacity of 2000cc and above till 31 March (See: SC bans new diesel-driven luxury cars, SUVs in Delhi). Later, the ban was extended till further orders.

During the hearing, the bench asked a battery of senior lawyers including Gopal Subramanium and Gopal Jain, appearing for automobile majors, to explore the levy of green cess at the time of registration of diesel cars and SUVs.

 "Can you (lawyers for auto firms) ask your people to work out details as to what may be the cess to be levied on such vehicles with regard to the showroom price etc," it said.

 The lawyers said it was not an "adversarial" litigation and the amount of cess can be worked out. "We will come out with a concrete proposal," Jain said.

 The bench also inquired about whether there was any prescribed emission standards for diesel vehicles.

 Subramanium said that at present Euro-IV emission norms are in place for vehicles and for switching to stricter emission norms of Euro-VI, there was the need for advance fuel which is presently unavailable.

 The bench has sought reports with regard to the research works carried out on the impact of Euro-IV norms on vehicular emissions.

Earlier, automobile giants like Mercedes, Toyota, Mahindra and General Motors had moved the apex court for modification of the order by which registration of their high -end diesel vehicles, with an engine capacity of 2000cc and above was barred in Delhi and NCR.

 While continuing with the status-quo on registration of high-end diesel vehicles, the court had asked the big car makers not to treat the Public Interest Litigation as an "adversarial litigation" and "treat it in public interest".