Centre may challenge NGT ban on old diesel vehicles

The union government is preparing to challenge the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order for banning all diesel vehicles in Delhi that are more than 10 years old and immediate deregistration of those over 15 years old. It will argue there is no violation of motor vehicle rules and regulations when vehicles comply with fitness and pollution norms.

According to a Times of India report, the road transport ministry will challenge fixing any age to declare a vehicle unfit or too polluting to ply and thereby creating a sudden crisis. The government will argue that fitness test should be the only criteria for allowing or barring a vehicle from plying. It will also seek to show how the decision will have huge economic impact.

"We have always maintained this, which is laid down in the law. People who are maintaining vehicles well and are non-polluting even after 10-15 years should not be punished. If a vehicle is failing to meet the standards even in the first 4-5 years, it should be taken out of the system. Age of a vehicle cannot be the criteria," said a government official.

Even in most developed countries, fitness test and compliance of vehicles to the standards is the sole criteria for not letting a vehicle ply.

Another official said, "People who have paid road tax for 15 years cannot be told to retire their vehicles and sell them at junk from tomorrow morning. If there are issues with our fitness test regime, then we need to fix them rather than punishing the law abiding citizens."

A section in the government and consumer activists also feel that the recent order of the green tribunal does not take into account the economic impact of such a decision, according to the report. "There may be many who hardly take out their cars and these may have travelled a few thousand kilometres and are less polluting and are like any new car. How can they also be asked to junk their vehicles?" asked an official.

The government is likely to reiterate the measures it is taking to improve fitness test such as expanding IT-based facilities across the country and introduction of better quality and alternate fuel.