New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday (January 17) sought the Centre’s reply on a PIL (Public interest litigation) seeking implementation of its policy on gradually converting all public transport and government vehicles into electric vehicles (EVs) to curb air pollution and carbon emission. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde took note of the plea filed by an NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, alleging that the government has not done enough in pursuance of its own policy of converting public transport and government vehicles into EVs. The bench, which also comprised justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, issued notice to the Union Ministry of Road Transport and sought its reply within four weeks.
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, said the scheme was formulated to curb air pollution and restrict carbon emission which has been creating the problem of global warming. He said infrastructure facilities for proper charging batteries of EV also needed to be developed. In March last year, the apex court had directed the Centre to apprise it of the steps taken for the implementation of the scheme. The bench has now posted the PIL for hearing after four weeks.
EVs are preferred technology to alleviate the effects of pollution and intervention of judiciary was necessary to protect citizens fundamental rights. The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan, 2020 (NEMMP-2020) of the Ministry of Heavy Industries was devised in 2015 to promote and incentivise electric vehicles. The plea sought direction to the Centre to adopt and implement the recommendations made under NEMMP-2020 and those of Niti Aayog in its Zero Emission Vehicles policy framework pertaining to “demand Creation, creation of requisite charging Infrastructure”.
The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles in India scheme (FAME India), meant for implementing the policy, has woefully failed in “adopting the recommendations of NEMMP-2020,” the PIL said. It claimed that instead of achieving target of 6-7 millions sales of such hybrid vehicles by 2020, only 0.263 million electric vehicles have been adopted in India. The plea said the thrust of the policy was to allow hybrid and electric vehicles to become the first choice for the purchasers so that these vehicles could replace the conventional vehicles and thus reduce liquid fuel consumption. The lack of effort on the part of enforcement agencies and adequate laws have resulted into spiralling pollution levels and the air quality is steadily decreasing and no effective steps have been taken by the administration in this behalf, it alleged.