New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a petition challenging an order passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in November banning vehicles over 15 years old from plying on Delhi roads.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Vishaal Shripati Jogdand, questioning the jurisdiction of the NGT to pass such an order.
A Bench led by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu observed that the NGT needs more encouragement rather than obstacles in the way of the good work it has been doing. “Let us assist the NGT and not discourage them,” the Chief Justice said.
The Bench observed that the NGT has only confirmed what constitutional courts have been saying all these years about pollution.
“We remember the Andhra Pradesh High Court had passed such an order and the matter came to us in Special Leave to appeal. We dismissed the appeal and upheld the ban. So nothing appears to be wrong with what the Tribunal is doing today. It is only repeating orders passed by the constitutional courts,” the CJI observed.
The Tribunal had ordered authorities to seize vehicles over 15 years old and take appropriate action against the owners under the Motor Vehicles Act. It had ordered that these vehicles be towed away from parking spots and their use challenged in a court of law by the police. This direction was made applicable to all vehicles, i.e., two wheelers, three wheelers, four wheelers, light vehicles and heavy vehicles, irrespective of whether commercial or otherwise.
The Court’s rejection of the appeal has virtually put a spoke in the wheel of the government, as any future move by the Centre to challenge the ban could meet with similar fate.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Debasis Misra submitted that fitness of vehicles and not their age should be the criteria. “If pollution inside the courtroom increases, will lawyers be banned from entering the hall,” he asked.
The Bench, however, remained unmoved.
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