Delhi government got a big relief early on Monday after Delhi High Court refused to “interfere” with its Odd-Even scheme of road rationing for the private cars. The ambitious scheme that conditionally restricts the plying of private cars, except the exempted categories, will be in force till January 15. Delhi High Court order came on the batch of petitions raising objections to the scheme citing inconvenience and lack of alternatives.
As per the rule, in force from January 1, private cars with licence place numbers ending with an even digit are allowed to ply on even dates and the odd-number ones on odd dates.
While ordering the dismissal of petitions, the High Court, however, told AAP-led state government to “take into consideration the issues raised by various petitioners” if it wishes to continue the Odd-Even scheme in future.
With pollutions level rising in the national capital and courts seeking ways to reduce the pollutions, Delhi government had come up with the Odd-Even scheme last month.
Earlier during the course of hearing last week, the Delhi HC had questioned the scheme asking if it could be restricted to just a week as there is a lack of sufficient public transport to ferry people. The division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath had on January 6 said the scheme was causing inconvenience to a large section of society besides terming the government’s status report on the scheme as “vague”.
“Pollution level in Delhi has showed a consistent declining trend at peak hours due to implementation of odd-even vehicles scheme,” Delhi government counsel told the division bench on Friday.
Arguing further, he told that particulate and nitrogen oxide load from cars have come down during Odd-Even scheme by as much as 40 per cent and higher share of pollution benefits have come from reduction in diesel cars. But Delhi government’s claims were opposed by the petitioners who said the AAP government has carried out a pick and choose policy against car owners whereas 46 per cent pollution is caused by trucks.
Defending the scheme, the government counsel had hinted of extending the scheme saying, “15 days are not enough; If needed we may have to go beyond that”. This, however, was denied by the Delhi government Transport ministry which maintained that the scheme will continue till January 15 after which they will “assess the results”.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too had hailed the Odd-Even scheme last week claiming that the implementation has proved that AAP can “govern” and provide leadership to the people.
“…. lot of critics said this scheme is totally impossible. But now you can see that how successfully the scheme is running,” he said.
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.