Specifically saying that it was not a ‘summon’, the top court said that it would like to hear directly from the minister about his plans to combat pollution. (Photo Credit: PTI File Photo)
In a first, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Union Minister Nitin Gadkari to come and share his ideas on ‘electric vehicle policy’. Specifically saying that it was not a ‘summon’, the top court said that it would like to hear directly from the minister about his plans to combat pollution. The apex court made the unusual ‘request’ while it was hearing a plea by an NGO on the implementation of government policy on electric vehicles. In its plea, NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation said that the Centre was not doing enough to promote electric vehicles for public transport.
While hearing the plea, Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde asked, “What exactly is the government’s plan on electric vehicles? If Union Transport Minister will want to come to the Supreme Court to assist.” To this, Assistant Solicitor General Atmaram Nadkarni said that, “the minister has no problem is answering the queries. But this may turn political.” CJI then said that we are not asking Gadkari to come to court on the litigant’s demand. It is us who is requesting Gadkari to come, the CJI said. The CJI also made it clear that no summon was being issued to Gadkari. Later, the top court said that in case the minister is unable to come, any other official can appear before the court and present the Centre’s response.
"We find that the issue of use of electric vehicles is connected to several other issues which are pending before the court. All of these issues, which pertain to the source of power of vehicles - public and private - eventually have a great impact on the environment. This is not just in Delhi-NCR, but the entire country," the court order read.
Meanwhile, in order to combat pollution, to India will switch to the world's cleanest petrol and diesel from April 1 as it leapfrogs straight to Euro-VI emission compliant fuels from Euro-IV grades now - a feat achieved in just three years and not seen in any of the large economies around the globe. India will join the select league of nations using petrol and diesel containing just 10 parts per million of sulphur as it looks to cut vehicular emissions that are said to be one of the reasons for the choking pollution in major cities.