Delhi HC pulls up state government and police over vehicular pollution

RSTV Bureau

New Delhi: A man takes protection against pollution as smog covers India Gate in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI Photo

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the Aam Admi Party government in Delhi and the state police department over checking vehicular pollution.

How many vehicles have been checked and fines imposed for causing pollution since August, the Delhi High Court asked the traffic police and transport department of the AAP government.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar sought the information and an action plan from the authorities on how they intended to ensure compliance of the law with regard to polluting vehicles.

The bench said if the authorities are able to address the issue of air pollution by inspection of vehicular emission, “then air quality in the city would improve positively”.

The court sought the data with regard to inspections carried out at the entry points to the national capital.

The bench also sought information regarding vehicle inspections carried out by cops in areas falling under the jurisdiction of some specific police stations as well.

It directed the transport department and the traffic police to provide the information sought before the next date of hearing on November 30.

The court was hearing a plea by an NGO, Campaign for People Participation in Development Planning, alleging that the rise in vehicle-generated air pollution in Delhi was due to “non-enforcement and non-implementation” of the 1988 Motor Vehicle Act, which prescribes punishment for driving a polluting vehicle.

New Delhi: Vehicles ply through smog covered road  in New Delhi on Thursday, Nov 3, 2016. Photo - PTI

File Photo: Vehicles ply through smog covered road in New Delhi on Thursday, Nov 3, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Advocate Anil Aggarwal, who filed the petition, contended before the bench that the Motor Vehicle Rules empowered a police officer above the rank of Sub-Inspector and a transport department official above the rank of Inspector to inspect vehicles and impose fines.

The court, thereafter, made the Delhi police a party in the case.

The high court had earlier cautioned the Centre and the AAP government against issuance of pollution under control (PUC) certificates to polluting vehicles in the city.

Aggarwal had also told the bench that pollution tests carried out at the checking centres were a “sham” and the PUC certificates were being “casually issued” with the knowledge of the government and its agencies.

The NGO’s plea was filed in February 2016 when the second phase of the odd-even scheme road rationing was announced by the Delhi government, alleging that the government has “maliciously misdirected themselves” to cut the number of vehicles on road instead of enforcing pollution control rules.

(With inputs from PTI)