Impact on air quality negligible: Petition filed in Supreme Court challenging Odd Even Scheme

Impact on air quality negligible: Petition filed in Supreme Court challenging Odd Even Scheme

Rintu Mariam Biju

After the Delhi High Court refused to pass any stay in his challenge to the Odd Even Scheme, Sanjiv Kumar has filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India challenging the same.

The petition states that the Odd Even Scheme for motor vehicles plying on Delhi roads is ultra vires Articles 14, 15, 19(1)(g) and 21 of Constitution of India and violative of Section 115 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. It is also stated that the scheme was arbitrary, irritational, unconstitutional and done capriciously in an unreasonable manner without adequately determining principle cause and remedy.

The efficacy of the scheme has also been called into question.

That, Delhi Govt Odd Even Scheme is being implemented to curb the Pollution, but it’s clear that the cause and remedy is totally mismatched; 2 Wheelers that cause the maximum pollution has been exempted.” 

Additionally, the petition states,

Three sources of Delhi air-quality data confirmed that the odd-even system did not lower pollution levels: The union government’s Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB); the Delhi’s government’s Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC); and India Spend’s Breathe network.

To further substantiate this point, emphasis has been laid on the observation made by the National Green Tribunal in Mahendra Pandey v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi & Ors which reads,

“On a fair analysis of the report submitted by the DPCC it is clear that odd-even scheme have not led to any substantial improvement in the ambient air quality of NCT, Delhi. This would clearly shows that other pollutant contributing factors need to be paid greater attention…”

The petition further states that the scheme notification is illogical and illegal, as it allows cars with numbers ending in odd numbers to ply on the road for 6 days and for those with even numbers to ply on road for 5 days.

“Notification of Odd Even Vehicle Scheme is arbitrary, illogical, illegal, done capriciously in an unreasonable manner and unconstitutional that in the 12 days Odd Even period(from 4th November 2019 to 14th November 2019), it exclusively allows Odd Car to Ply on the road on 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15 that is 6 days and it exclusively allows Even Car to Ply on road on 4, 6, 8, 12, 14 that is 5 days. So only God knows why Odd Car are given preference. Odd Cars 6 days Vs Even Cars 5 days. Hence Odd Even Notification is ultra vires Article 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India.”

It is further contended that the scheme, insofar as it exempts women drivers, discriminates on the basis of gender, thereby violating fundamental rights. The reason behind the exemption for women was vague, mischievous and misconceived, Kumar states in the petition.

The petition also states that auto rickshaws and taxi cabs have also been exempted as it is the “vote bank of the Delhi Govt.” On the contrary, CNG vehicles, which were introduced to place a check on air pollution, come under the ambit of the scheme.

The petitioner claims that the scheme “is nothing but political gimmick for self promotion and advertisements in the smokescreen of curbing pollution.

Therefore, it has been prayed that the Supreme Court pass a direction declaring the Odd Even Scheme to be void ab initio.

[Read the Petition here]

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