The Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed a plea by Bajaj Auto against the AAP government’s decision to issue 4,261 new permits only to e-autos, saying Delhi residents are badly affected by air pollution, a part of which is contributed by vehicles.
The top court said even though CNG auto-rickshaws are BS-VI compliant, there is still some carbon emission.
A bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao said the advertisement issued by the Delhi government inviting applications for e-autorickshaws cannot be said to be arbitrary as it is in conformity with the FAME-II scheme and the Electric Vehicle policy 2020.
”Residents of Delhi are badly affected by the air pollution, undoubtedly a part of which is contributed by vehicles. Even though CNG autos are BS-VI compliant, there is still some carbon emission.
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”We also do not agree that the fundamental right of the applicant (Bajaj Auto) is violated. Amendment to Motor Vehicles Act cannot be read to mean that addition of e-autos on the road can be done over and above one lakh autos,” the bench also comprising Justices B R Gavai and B V Nagarathna said.
The Delhi government opposed the plea filed by Bajaj Auto on the ground that CNG auto-rickshaws cannot be compared to e-autos.
It said there is a proposal to switch to electric vehicles with a view to decarbonize the transport sector. The AAP government also referred to the FAME-II scheme of the Centre and electric vehicle policy 2020.
92,000 CNG auto-rickshaws have already been registered in Delhi and there is a continuous process of replacement of old CNG auto-rickshaws, the Delhi government said.
Advocate ADN Rao, who is amicus curiae in the case, submitted that the application deserves to be dismissed as an amendment made to the motor vehicles act and central motor vehicle rules only relate to the payment of registration fees.
The Transport department of the Delhi government had invited online applications for registration of 4,261 new permits for e-autorickshaws.
Bajaj Auto had moved the apex court with the claim that the advertisement was arbitrary and discriminatory to manufacturers of existing CNG three-seater auto-rickshaws (TSR).
”The decision tantamounts to an indirect ban on new CNG TSRs, and also amounts to restricting market opportunities to one class of vehicles over another, without rational basis or intelligible differentia…A conjoint reading of the SC orders shows that the court never intended to place a cap on numbers of TSRs running on clean fuels, such as CNG and electricity,” the plea said.