SC refuses to hold early hearing of odd-even petition

New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hold an urgent hearing of a plea challenging the Delhi High Court’s order allowing, on trial basis, the odd-even policy for private cars for 15 days here.

Declining to hold an early hearing of the plea, the bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice R. Banumathi took a dim view of the plea by a young advocate, terming it as “publicity stunt”.

“You are challenging it for publicity. It is a publicity stunt,” it told the advocate B.Badrinath.

Telling the advocate that government was taking some steps to curb pollution as people were dying of it, the court asked: “Why a young advocate is having difficulty in reaching the court” and observed “We are doing carpooling, but you are not helping.” A

The odd-even policy, under which private cars with registrations ending in even numbers could ply only on even dates, and vice versa for those with odd-numbered plates, was announced by the state government from January 1-15 after the Delhi High Court said the national capital had turned into a gas chamber.

The high court, by its January 8 order, refused to interfere with odd-even policy which was being tried for 15 days on trial basis, saying it is a policy decision and was introduced based on the opinion of experts.

“The law is well settled that on matters affecting policy this court will not interfere unless the policy is unconstitutional or contrary to the statutory provisions or arbitrary or irrational or in abuse of power since the policy decision are taken based on expert knowledge of person concerned and courts are normally not equipped to question the correctness of a policy decision,” it had said.

It had further said, “Keeping in view that restrictions under the notification dated December 28, 2015 only for a limited period of 15 days and is stated that the scheme has been enforced as a pilot project to ascertain the reduction, if any, in the pollution levels, we are of the view that the interference by this court is not warranted.”

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