Citing trouble to public, HC questions Odd-Even plan

Delhi_High_Court-PTIOn the sixth day of Delhi government’s Odd-Even scheme of road rationing for the private vehicles, Delhi High Court sought to know should the ambitious scheme be in force for more than even a week. The Odd-Even scheme, which came into force on January 1, 2016 is slated for a fortnight trial run till January 15. The Delhi HC raised this question while hearing on multiple pleas filed against the scheme.

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, adding that the scheme 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,” the Delhi HC bench observed.

The court has now 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.

Besides asking if the scheme can be restricted to a week instead of a fortnight as planned, the High Court also termed the Delhi government’s status report on the implementation of scheme as “vague”. It has now sought information about the pollution caused by taxis running on diesel and CNG which have been kept out of the purview of the odd-even formula and the data related to changes in the pollution level between January 1 and 7, the day the scheme will have completed a week.

Delhi-traffic“You (government) have to think about it. Your status report is vague and does not reveal much,” the division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said, adding, “There is no sufficient public transport. Is it really necessary to have it for 15 days?”

“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 caused to public at large…. there is a practical difficulty,” the bench sought to know.

Observing that it is not interfering with the policies, the court asked the government to think about the Odd-Even scheme as people are knocking on its door complaining about inconvenience being caused to them.

On the other hand, opposing the petitioners, Delhi government’s senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra argued that the scheme is only for 15 days and “the state is equally pained by the inconvenience being caused to public”.

As he further defended the Odd-Even scheme stating that “we are labelled as the most polluted city in the world”, the High Court bench interjected and said that “at present you are causing more inconvenience to public”.

Fixing the next hearing for January 8, the court asked the state counsel to seek instructions from the government on whether the pilot scheme can be restricted to a week instead of continuing the full run till 15th of this month.

The Delhi High Court’s direction came on a batch of petitions filed by various individuals including lawyers who have challenged the AAP government’s move. Among the contentions raised by the petitioners included imposing fine of Rs 2,000 on the violators and exemptions granted to two-wheelers and women drivers.

(With inputs from the PTI)