India: SC restricts plying of old vehicles

November 28, 2018

Regulations to curb the increasing pollution in India

Transportation of people and goods has been of vital importance to mankind. This has connected the individuals separated over vast geographical distances for social and economic reasons. Revolutionizing the field of transportation sea change evolution has been witnessed ranging from the basic wheel of early man to modern day sports vehicles including cars and bike, bullet trains, superfast jet planes to sky piercing rockets. Improvements in this domain has assisted in covering larger distances in the shortest span of time with personal vehicles. These vehicles rely on the depleting and pollution causing non-renewable energy sources for their fuel requirements which are not only expensive but cause pollution thereby harming the environment.

Controlling Regulations

In order to regulate and monitor the increasing levels of pollution attributable to the reckless use of fuel by the vehicles in use, the Government has been making consistent efforts to create awareness about the harms being caused thereby. Public transport and other means of shared travel are being promoted to reduce the number of vehicles present on the roads.

Legal regime has been made more effective to control the levels of environmental degradation in the form of Environment Protection Act, 1986 aiming at conservation and improvement of environment along with various legislations working towards the protection of air, water and other environmental components such as Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 focussing on creation of a better and cleaner standard of air to breathe.

Removal of old vehicles

The Apex Court (hereinafter referred to as the “Supreme Court” or “Court”) of the country vide its order dated October 29, 2018, prohibited the plying of 15-year old petrol and 10-year old diesel vehicles in the National Capital Region.[1] It was also directed that the list of such vehicles be published on the web site of Central Pollution Control Board and transport department. The said order has been passed taking into consideration the “very critical” and “horrible” levels of pollution in the region.

The Court permitted the Environment Pollution Control Authority to take pre-emptive steps under the Graded Response Action Plan without strict adherence to pollution stages delineated in the plan. Taking into account the number of vehicles and the travel duration made therefrom reveals the cause of the alarmingly high chocking levels of pollution in the region. Attributable to the unfit nature of the old vehicles, they tend to consume more fuel and contribute more towards the destruction of the surrounding ecosystem.

With the objective of dealing with the pollution caused by the release of harmful components by vehicles, the Government also introduced Bharat Standard- VI seeking reduction of improper emissions thus working towards protection of the surrounding ecosystem. In furtherance to the same, the Supreme Court imposed a bar on the automobile companies from manufacturing and selling vehicles that are not compliant with the Bharat Standard- VI emission standards after March 31, 2020.[2]

The Supreme Court has been increasingly taking steps to ensure the reduction of the environmental pollution by requiring the authorities for stronger implementation of the anti-pollution rules and regulations while requiring the compliance by the public to tackle the menace of rising pollution levels lowering the quality of air to breathe and on the contrary adding respiratory ailments.


[2] SC Writ Petition (Civil) No. 13029 of 1985

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