SC to hear plea for pollution charge on commercial vehicles

New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) The Supreme Court said it will hear on October 5 a plea seeking imposition of pollution compensatory charge on light and heavy commercial vehicles entering Delhi as the worsening air pollution in the national capital would further deteriorate in the coming winter.

A bench of Chief Justice H.L.Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy agreed to hear the plea by senior counsel Harish Salve who urged the court to direct imposition of “pollution compensatory charges” besides the usual toll tax by the municipal bodies saying that the deteriorating air pollution in Delhi was posing a “serious problem”.

“We will hear it on Monday,” the court said as Salve, who is also an amicus curiae in a public interest suit filed by an environmentalist M.C.Mehta way back in 1985, addressed the court on the issue.

Salve, in the new application moved on Thursday, sought direction to the central and Delhi governments and municipal bodies that the light commercial vehicles and medium trucks (2-axle) entering Delhi are made to pay “pollution compensatory charges” of not less than Rs.600 and vehicles (3-axle and above) are made to pay a sum not less than Rs.1,200.

Salve said truckers opt for Delhi as a transit because it costs them less compared to driving on the highways and justified imposition of the charges, contending that the “principle of environment law that the polluter has to pay is now a part of theAconstitutional jurisprudence”.

“That emissions from automobiles are responsible for the bulk of PM (particulate matter) load which pollutes the ambient air. The second major cause of pollution is the Nitrogen Dioxide (NOx) load, which again is sourced from emissions of automobiles,” he said.

The application also sought that the vehicles entering Delhi be switched to the Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) system of collection of toll from December 1.

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