Environment Compensation Charge to be collected from vehicles entering Delhi

Supreme Court: With the intent to check pollution by commercial traffic travelling from North India towards Jaipur and onwards via Delhi, the 3-judge bench of H.L. Dattu, CJ and Arun Mishra and A.K. Goel, JJ directed that a charge be collected from the vehicles by the toll operators without any deduction and handed over to the Delhi Government on every Friday and the Delhi Government shall furnish accounts of the receipts and the expenditure incurred to EPCA and to this Court each quarter.

It was noted that even though alternative routes are available for such traffic, only reason for such traffic entering into Delhi is to save higher rate of toll tax in taking such alternative routes. In the process, pollution caused by such traffic inflicts heavy cost on the health of the residents of Delhi. Learned Amicus Curiae Shri Harish Salve, learned Solicitor General Shri Ranjit Kumar and Shri Dushyant Dave suggested the Court that to tackle this situation an “Environment Compensation Charge” (ECC) may be required to be imposed on all light and heavy duty commercial vehicles and the amount so collected ought to be exclusively used for augmenting public transport and improving roads, particularly for most vulnerable users, that is, cyclists and pedestrians in Delhi.

Excluding the Passenger vehicles and ambulances and vehicles carrying essential commodities, that is, food stuffs and oil tankers, separate rates have been fixed for different categories of vehicles with Rs. 1300 for 4 axle trucks and above being the highest. [M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, 2015 SCC OnLine SC 968 , decided on 09.10.2015]

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