SC notice to Centre on levying environment charge on vehicles

The Supreme Court today sought the Centre's reply to a plea for levying "environment compensation charge" on all existing private vehicles and new diesel cars to control pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR).

A three judge bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam issued notice to the Centre on a plea seeking court's intervention for controlling the "spiralling air pollution in NCR."

The application, filed by senior advocate Harish Salve, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae in adjudication of matters related to pollution, pleaded that a fee of 25 percent of the cost be levied on every new diesel vehicles which cause more pollution.

The application also sought levying a 2 percent fee on the cost of all existing petrol car and 4 percent of the cost of all exisiting diesel cars, being used as private vehicles in the city.

In his application, Salve said the pollution levels in the NCR have spiked to unhealthy levels, especially after the onset of winter, and pose a serious health hazard.

"These levels (of pollution) are unacceptable, because they are a clear health hazard. Already there is evidence of severe respiratory ailments afflicting people. The air is toxic. Nitrogen dioxide is a trigger for serious respiratory conditions and sudden death syndrome among infants," the application said adding that roughly 1,400 new personal vehicles come on road daily.

Arguing that the city needs emergency-level action to reduce the rise in pollution, amicus sought levying of the environmental compensation charge on all private vehicles.

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