Free Press Journal

SC’s no to urgent hearing of plea against odd-even scheme


New Delhi: The car-rationing odd-even scheme of AAP government to curb pollution in Delhi got a boost today with Supreme Court terming a petition opposing it a “publicity stunt” and refusing to hold an urgent hearing on it. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S hakur rapped an advocate for challenging the measure and said, “You see, we are doing car pooling, but you are not helping … Why is a young advocate having difficulty in reaching the court?”

The bench, which also comprised Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi, said “the government is taking some steps to curb pollution. People are dying due to pollution and you are challenging it for publicity. …. It is a publicity stunt.”

“There is no urgency in the matter. Let it come up in due course,” the bench said. It, however, said there was a need to “augment” the public transport system to ensure that people do not suffer when such a policy is put in place.

The bench, which itself had issued a slew of guidelines to curb alarming level of pollution in Delhi, said it has already asked Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to consider raising the number of metro coaches and increase train frequency. Few days ago, the apex court had suggested several steps like a premium service to augment network in the capital.

“If necessary, we can ask the government to raise the number of buses as well,” it said todayThe Delhi government’s odd-even policy, under which cars with registrations ending in even numbers could ply only on even dates and odd numbered ones on odd dates, ends tomorrow.

The observations came when the petition, filed by B Badrinath, was mentioned for urgent hearing before the bench. The High Court had on January 11 refused to interfere with the AAP government’s scheme, observing that restrictions under the scheme were only till January 15.

It had said though the implementation of the scheme may have caused hardship to a section of society, “power of judicial review cannot be extended to determine correctness of such policy decision”.

In December last year, the apex court had passed a slew of directions including ban on registration of diesel-run sports utility vehicles and high-end private cars with engine capacity of 2000 CC and above, in Delhi and National Capital Region till March 31 this year.