Delhi High Court Asks State Govt Why The Odd-Even Plan Can't Be Wrapped Up In A Week

06/01/2016 2:39 PM IST | Updated 29/08/2016 9:41 PM IST
Vehicles ply on a smog enveloped morning during a two-week experiment to reduce the number of cars to fight pollution in New Delhi, India, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. To reduce pollution in one of the most polluted cities in the world, the Delhi government has allowed private cars on the roads on alternate days from Jan. 1-15, depending on whether their license plates end in an even or an odd number. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

New Delhi — Delhi High Court today asked the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to explain whether it is not enough to continue their odd-even vehicles scheme, slated for a fortnight till January 15, for one week.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath also said the Delhi government will have to admit that they do not have sufficient public transport to ferry people which was causing inconvenience to a large section of society.

"Aren't these six days enough for you? We have permitted the government to run this scheme for one week during which they must have collected data relating to pollution levels in the city," it said.

The court, however, fixed the matter for January 8 by when it has asked the government to get instructions on whether its pilot project can be reduced to a week instead of 15 days.

It also asked the government to provide data related to changes in the pollution level between January 1 and 7.

"In these six days you must have collected data related to pollution level, we think it's sufficient for you. You will have to think about inconvenience cause to public at large," the bench said, adding, "there is a practical difficulty."

It also said that the court does not interfere with the policies but government must think about it as people are knocking its door complaining of inconvenience being caused.

"You (government) have to think about it. Your status report is vague and does not reveal much," the bench said, adding, "There is no sufficient public transport. Is it really necessary to have it for 15 days?"

The court also wished to know from the government how many cabs are plying on diesel and CNG in the capital and what level of pollution were they emitting.

The court's direction came on a batch of petitions filed by various individuals including lawyers who have challenged AAP goverment's December 28, 2015 notification bringing into force the scheme which allows private cars with odd-numbered plates to ply on odd-numbered dates and vice-versa.

While seeking quashing of the notification, a plea filed by Delhi High Court Bar Association President Rajiv Khosla sought explanation from Delhi government on what jurisdiction it has to fix a fine of Rs 2,000 without amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act.

Opposing the move from various sections of the society, senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for Delhi government, said "the scheme is only for 15 days and the State is equally pained by the inconvenience being caused to public."

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