New Delhi: The Supreme Court today banned the registration of diesel cars and SUVs above 2000cc in the national capital till March 31, in an attempt to clean up the city tackling one of its worst-ever bouts of toxic smog. The decision will not "affect the common man or the average citizen in the city," the top court said.
The court also barred diesel commercial vehicles, registered before 2005, from entering Delhi.
Commercial vehicles, which are not Delhi bound, have been banned from entering the city, with the court ordering the traffic police to draw up alternate routes - trucks usually take National Highway 1 and National Highway 8 that take them through the capital. A green tax imposed on trucks entering the city has also been doubled.
The court also ordered all taxis in the national capital to "move to CNG fuel" by March 1, 2016.
The Supreme Court's decision came in response to a clutch of petitions including one on banning diesel vehicles in some cities in the face of alarming pollution levels in the country.
"Rich people can't go round in SUVs polluting the environment," the court had strongly remarked yesterday. It had also slammed car dealers arguing against a National Green Tribunal order banning registration of diesel cars, saying, "People's life is at stake and you are interested in selling cars."
Last week, the Tribunal had directed that no new diesel vehicles will be registered in Delhi. The green court said it was an interim step till the next date of hearing on January 6.
Last week, Chief Justice TS Thakur had called the pollution level in the national capital "embarrassing" and had asked for immediate solutions.
Facing flak over the crisis, the Delhi government had, earlier this month, said that odd and even numbered cars would be allowed on alternate days in the city for a trial period from January 1 to January 15.
Around 23 per cent of the cars registered in Delhi are diesel. Diesel cars can legally emit 7.5 times more particulate matter than the petrol versions and produce more toxic nitrogen dioxide.