The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on the petition seeking modification in its order banning registration of diesel vehicles of 2000 cc and above in the NCR. It also indicated that such vehicles may be allowed to be registered again on payment of one per cent of ex-showroom price as green cess.
The Ministry of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises, which supported the automobile giants’ in bid for modification of the order, however opposed the court-mandated imposition of green cess on buyers of big diesel cars and SUVs.
“The likely imposition of green cess for diesel cars of more than 2000 cc will not be in consonance with the constitutional scheme of things as in terms of Article 265 of the Constitution ‘no tax can be levied without the authority of Parliament,” Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur.
“The presumption that bigger diesel engines create more pollution is not correct as bigger diesel cars have better emission norms,” Rohatgi told the bench which also comprised Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi.
“Are you (AG) appearing for automobile companies or the Centre,” the bench asked Rohatgi.
“I am appearing on behalf of Ministry of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises. Banning the registration will show the inconsistencies in our norms and regulations. Huge FDIs are involved. Lakhs of jobs are there,” Rohatgi said and referred to data to show that diesel cars, which are half of the engine capacity of big vehicles like Landrover, emit more particulate matters (PM).
The top law officer said the Centre was willing to conduct a “multi-pronged study” on diesel vehicles’ effect on environment and imposition of green cess and would come back to the court, and, in the meantime, the stay on the registration of big diesel vehicles should be lifted.
“Who is stopping you from doing the study,” the bench then asked.
The bench, which had earlier said it may allow registration of diesel vehicles again in Delhi ands NCR, today reiterated it and proposed that the green cess to be levied could be one per cent of purchase value of such vehicles and reserved the order.