SC Lifts Ban on 2000 CC Diesel Cars

The Supreme Court has lifted its longtime ban on fresh registration of diesel cars and SUVs above 2000 CC engine capacity in Delhi and the National Capital Region.

The ban was lifted on the condition that manufacturers and dealers will pay to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) 1% of the showroom price of each car as environmental compensation charge (ECC) at the time of purchase.

A Special Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S.Thakur modified its December 16, 2015, ban on fresh registration of diesel cars with 2000 CC and above engine capacity after manufacturers and dealers agreed to convey to their buyers that the payment of ECC would be a “condition precedent” for registration.

The ban, which was extended from time to time, was meant to save the National Capital from toxic air pollution.

The Bench recorded the submission of amicus curiae and senior advocate Harish Salve that registration of these category of cars should not be done until the receipt of payment of ECC is produced before the registration authority.

Registration will be done only after the authority satisfies itself upon the deposit of the ECC amount.

CPCB has been directed to open a separate bank account for the deposit of the ECC collected.

The court modified its December 16 order despite the Centre’s objection that courts do not have the authority to levy such charges which is solely in the domain of the Executive.

The Bench said it was leaving open the question whether the payment of ECC should also apply to the registration of cars with engine capacity less than 2000 CC.

It also left open the question whether the rate of ECC should be increased, but said that such an increase, if ever implemented, would not be done retrospectively.