New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday indicated that it will impose an environment compensatory charge (ECC) ranging from Rs 700 to Rs 1,300 on commercial vehicles entering Delhi as a transit route for their onward journey.
The apex court bench of Chief Justice HL Dattu, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, while giving this indication, reserved order to be pronounced on Monday (October 12).
However, if was clarified that commercial vehicles carrying essential commodities, food stuff and passengers and emergency vehicles, including ambulances, would be exempted from the environment cess.
The imposition of ECC would be for four months on an experimental basis and the money collected would go to the Delhi government.
The Delhi government told the court that it would issue a notification in this regard after a formal order was passed by the apex court.
The Delhi government also told the court that it would give wide publicity to the directions of the court.
Making it clear that it does not want to generate "unemployment", the court said those who would lose their livelihood can't be compensated in terms of alternate jobs, financial or other support if the firecracker industry was shut down.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked why firecrackers were being singled out for rising pollution levels when automobiles caused much more pollution. It asked the Centre to apprise it with a comparative study of the two.
Linking the plea for a ban on the manufacture, sale and bursting of firecrackers across the country with Article 19 (1)(g) guaranteeing the right to occupation, trade or business, a bench headed by Justice S.A. Bobde flagged the issue of loss of jobs if there was a clampdown on the firecracker manufacturing industry.
Article 19 (1)(g) of the Constitution guarantees the right “to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business”.
Sitting along with Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, Justice Bobde said the issue had not been examined on the touchstone of Article 19 (1)(g) of the Constitution.
Making it clear that it does not want to generate “unemployment”, the court said those who would lose their livelihood can’t be compensated in terms of alternate jobs, financial or other support if the firecracker industry was shut down.
Observing how there can be a ban on the firecracker industry whose operations were legal and licensed, Justice Bobde said the way out was not cancelling the license but there could be a change in the licensing conditions.
The top court’s observations came in the course of hearing a PIL by a toddler — Arjun Gopal — seeking ban on the manufacture, sale and bursting of firecrackers across the country.
Noting the work being done by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to produce green firecrackers, the top court had in its last order asked NEERI and PESO to stick the timeline culminating in the bulk production of firecrackers based on the new formulations by May 10, 2019.
The top court had in October 2018 permitted the use of only green firecrackers with reduced emission and decibel levels during all religious festivals. (IANS)