The tug of war between the NGT and diesel car makers in the capital has come to an end. In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has lifted the ban off registration of 2.0-litre diesel engined vehicles in Delhi-NCR.
The Supreme Court’s decision was partly influenced by Mercedes-Benz lobbying to pay off one per cent environment cess on 2.0-litre diesel engines. Toyota was also part of this lobby. It may be noted that both these car manufacturers were highly affected by the Delhi diesel ban.
To recap, the Delhi diesel ban was implied in December 2015 wherein theÂ independent National Green Tribunal (NGT) had asked for diesel vehicles above 2.0-litre capacity to be banned. While there were injunctions filed in by the manufacturers and questions raised on whether NGT could impose such bans, sales of these vehicles were temporarily stopped in New Delhi and surrounding regions. In the meanwhile, there were also talks of NGT spreading the ban blanket to other states. Kerala was the first one to stop sales of these diesel cars, but the ban stayed put only for a short period.
The lifting of this ban has come as a relief hugely to Mahindra, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Ford, amongst the other manufacturers. Mercedes-Benz India had this statement to share,Â âWe 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 one per cent 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 governmentâs decision to prepone 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.â
Abdul Majeed, partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers India,Â said. “It’s a great move by the Supreme Court and the automotive industry, and other organisations should find a permanent solution for this. Currently, all manufacturers will have to pay the one per cent additional cess for selling these cars. The amount will be deposited with the government. It is likely that this tax may be abolished altogether or will be regularised. Expect a clearer answer in a couple of days. For the time being, if you’re from NCR, it’s just the right opportunity to go buy that Ford Endeavour or Toyota Innova Crysta that you had been drooling over. Also keep your eyes peeled open for the upcoming Jeep SUV launches.”