New Delhi: Large diesel cars, mainly SUVs, can remain on Delhi’s roads, the Supreme Court has said, but a green fine will have to be paid by manufacturers or dealers to compensate for polluting the city’s air. The tax – 1% of the showroom or retail price – must be deposited in a designated state-run bank, the top court said.
In December, the Supreme Court temporarily banned the sale of large diesel cars with an engine capacity of 2000 cc or more to combat the capital’s infamous toxic smog. Manufacturers argued that the decision would severely impact their sales and strand dealers with thousands of unsold cars.
Today’s verdict lifting the ban was based on an appeal by Mercedes-Benz, for whom the Delhi region represents almost a quarter of sales in the country, and an association of auto-makers. Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors and Toyota Motor Corp will also gain from the decision. Toyota had described the ban as “a corporate death sentence.”
“We are ready to go with global technology, meet global standards of emissions levels, It is best to adopt global levels and stick with that, and not keep changing policy,” said Vikram Kirloskar of Toyota.
The government has argued against the new green cess ordered by the Supreme Court, claiming that only parliament can approve a new tax. Last month, the top environmental court in India, the National Green Tribunal, ordered authorities to stop all diesel vehicles at least 10 years old from being driven in the capital.