NEW DELHI -- Bolstering the battle to clean the air in Delhi, the Supreme Court is likely to ban the registration of diesel vehicles with an engine capacity of more than 2000CC for three to four months.
The apex court will take its final call on Wednesday.
"Rich people can't go round in SUVs polluting the environment," the Supreme Court said today, while ticking off car dealers who challenged the National Green Tribunal's earlier order to ban the registration of diesel vehicles.
"People's life is at stake and you are interested in selling cars," said Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, NDTV reported.
Last week, Thakur described the pollution situation as "embarrassing."
"Delhi has earned a bad name that it is the most polluted city. Last week, a judge came from International Court of Justice to Delhi. It is very embarrassing for us to tell him that this is the level of pollution in Delhi," he said.
While Delhi is ranked the world's worst polluted city by the World Health Organisation, and experts have warned of how sick people can get from breathing its air, authorities have failed to arrest this environmental and heath crisis from worsening over the past decade.
But the Aam Aadmi Party government, which came to power in February, was forced to act after the national capital was enveloped by a thick smog at the onset of this winter, making it hard for people to breathe while out on the roads, especially during peak traffic hours.
Earlier this month, the Delhi government announced that cars with odd and even registration numbers would be allowed on the roads on alternate days from Jan. 1 to bring down the pollution level.
While the central and the AAP government are locked in a vicious battle over the raid of the Delhi secretariat today, the Supreme Court asked them to work together to combat the pollution in the national capital.
"You formulate the norms, prescribe the regime. Why don't you do it? You take the credit for cleaning Delhi. Why do you let the opportunity go?," the court said, NDTV reported.
The Supreme Court is also inclined to increase the Environment Compensatory Cess on vehicles entering into Delhi, India Today reported. The green tax would increase from Rs700 to Rs1400 for light commercial vehicles and from Rs1300 to Rs2600 on heavy commercial vehicles.
The apex court has also ordered that all taxis in Delhi run on CNG, and Euro 4-ready fuel is provided in Delhi and national highways.
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