The ban on diesel cars in the national capital with an engine capacity of 2000cc or above by the Supreme court of India has now taken a dramatic turn. After the Apex court reserves its verdict on the petitions received against the ban on registration of diesel vehicles in Delhi and NCR, the German car manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz, took the initiative to knock the doors of the highest court again to get some relaxation from the ban. On Monday, that is, 8th of August, 2016, Mercedes told the Supreme Court that it is ready to impose 1% green cess on the purchase of its vehicles in Delhi-NCR. The bench, headed by Chief Justice, TS Thakur, has agreed to hear the plea on the coming Friday, that is, August 12, 2016.
Last year, the Supreme Court of India imposed a ban on the sale and purchase of diesel vehicles with engine capacity of 2000cc or above in Delhi and NCR, considering the hazardous effect of the depleting air quality in the national capital. There were rumors that the Apex court might lift the ban by imposing a green cess of 1% on the sale of heavy diesel vehicles such as SUVs and high-end cars, but the court reserved its verdict and continued the ban.
Mohan Parasaran, the senior advocate representing Mercedes-Benz, has presented the company’s application in front of the court and insisted the bench for a hearing despite the fact that the bench has reserved its verdict. He explained the urgency for the hearing by stating that the High Courts and NGT’s state benches, in the absence of any fixed order, are imposing a ban on the sale of diesel vehicles for which he referred such type of order by Kerala’s court, which states, “... the Kerala NGT bench has put a ban on the sale of such cars. Some high courts are also following suit. Either the top court restrains them or gives an order soon because the prohibition (on registration) will shut down the (car) industry here.”
Trusted sources are claiming that Mercedes has taken this step to counter the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority’s proposition of imposing a green tax of 20-22% on the ex-showroom price of the diesel cars.
The Supreme Court in its last hearing on July 4, 2016, continued the ban with an indication that the banned diesel vehicles might be granted registration again in the capital after the payment of 1% environment cess levied on the ex-showroom price of the diesel car.
The Ministry of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises is also extending its support to the automotive giants in bid of relaxation from the ban but the ministry is opposing the imposition of green cess on the buyers of heavy diesel vehicles. In front of the bench lead by Chief Justice, TS Thakur, the Attorney General, Mukul Rohatgi, stated, “The presumption that bigger diesel engines create more pollution is not correct as bigger diesel cars have better emission norms.”
The extension of the ban for the indefinite period may put the job of many of the employees, working in the automobile industry, in danger along with creating an uncertainty in the mind of many foreign investors. This decision has also impacted the sales of many auto giants such as Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, BMW, etc. who majorly produced diesel vehicles.