The Supreme Court of India on
August 12, 2016 has lifted the ban on diesel vehicles with engine capacities of
2000cc and above but has asked affected car makers to deposit one per cent
of ex-showroom price as green cess. In fact, a few days back leading luxury car
manufacturer Mercedes-Benz India had moved the Supreme Court asking for the ban
on diesel vehicles to be lifted. The German car manufacturing firm had said it
was ready to pay the environmental cess of 1% levied on the sale of diesel
cars. Mercedes was among several other car companies severely affected by this
“We have followed the earlier
direction of the Supreme Court and filed an Interim Application seeking relief
on the ban on our cars. Following the court suggestion, we as a voluntary
interim measure, offered to pay 1% of the ex-showroom price of the vehicle
towards anticipated Environment Compensation Charge as a deposit, and not on
the premise that our vehicles are polluting the environment. We reiterate that,
being the pioneers of numerous technological innovations, Mercedes-Benz has the
technology available and can switch our entire fleet to BS VI by 2018, however,
we need compatible fuel to do so, to provide our customers with the latest
technologies which are available worldwide. We welcome the government’s
decision to pre-pone mandatory BS VI to 2020. We think the introduction of BS
VI fuel is the best viable option to curb pollution. Mercedes-Benz India is
waiting for compatible fuel quality and as soon as the required diesel fuel is
made available we are ready to switch our portfolio quickly to the EU 6
standard,” Mercedes-Benz India said in a statement.
“We are very relieved with the
decision of the Honourable Supreme Court today. Hope this decision will put all
controversy surrounding diesel fuel behind us and we will be able to focus on
the more important task of making our vehicles compliant with BS 6 norms by
April 2020”, said Mahindra & Mahindra in a statement.
The Supreme Court took this
decision to lift the ban after hearing the Mercedes plea. The apex court had
banned the use of big diesel vehicles in order to tackle air pollution in the
NCR. The ban had been imposed sometime in the middle of December 2015, after
the National Green Tribunal had first banned the diesel vehicles. The NGT later
went on to ban such vehicles even from certain cities and towns of Kerala.
The Centre through the Attorney
General of India had told the apex court that its decision to ban diesel cars
will cost the large number of people employed in the automobile industry their
jobs, and the industry as a whole was against the inconsistent policy.
Companies like Toyota went on record to say that they had put hold further
investments in the country. Toyota too was keen to pay up the 1pc cess in order
for the ban to be lifted. Many car makers like Mahindra & Mahindra and Toyota
had begun offering their popular diesel vehicles with new petrol engines.
The Supreme Court has now
stated that the one per cent green cess has to be deposited before Central
Pollution Control Board which will open a separate account in a PSU bank. It
also noted that it would decide later whether green cess can be levied on
diesel vehicles with engine capacities below 2000cc.
The latest Supreme Court
decision could pave way for lifting of similar bans in other parts of the country,
industry experts hoped.
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