The Supreme Court on Wednesday (February 19) ‘requested’ Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari to come to the apex court and share “innovative ideas” on tackling pollution.
An SC bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde said that it was a request for the inputs of the minister and it should not be seen as summons. “The minister has innovative ideas. We are requesting him to come to court and assist us because he is in a position to take decisions,” Chief Justice Bobde said.
The government lawyer appeared reluctant to accept SC’s call and reasoned that some people may try to give this move a political colour. The hief Justice responded to this saying, “Don’t think we are summoning him. It is a request. We want some one in authority to decide. Please find out if he can come.”
The apex court made the observation while hearing a petition on the implementation of government policy on electric vehicles. Petitioner’s lawyer Prashant Bhushan suggested that the Centre could tackle pollution by levying extra fee on petrol and diesel cars and giving subsidy to electric vehicles.
The SC said that cars were the major contributors to pollution and firecrackers and stubble-burning were just seasonal contributors. “Pollution from crackers and stubble burning is seasonal and for a short period. But (motor) vehicles are a major concern. We want to consider the issue holistically,” Chief Justice Bobde said.
“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. We consider it appropriate that all the issues be considered simultaneously and with the assistance of an authority empowered to take decisions,” it added.
The SC has given Centre four weeks to file a response.