The Apex Court has stayed an order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to phase out all public transport vehicles with BS-IV (Bharat Stage) engines and below in the next 6 months.
A bench of Justice S K Kaul and Justice Abhay S Oka issued notice to the parties in the case and sought their replies on the appeal filed by the West Bengal Govt.
The NGT in its order had said the State Govt must ensure that public transport vehicles with BS-IV engines and below are phased out in six months so that only BS-VI vehicles ply in the state, including Kolkata and Howrah, thereafter.
Senior Counsel, Manninder Acharya appearing on behalf of the State Government informed the Bench that the State is aggrieved by the aforesaid direction of the NGT, which implies that after six months only BS-VI vehicles would ply in the State of West Bengal including the cities of Kolkata and Howrah. She submitted that no motor vehicles that conforms to the emission standard of Bharat Stage-IV were to be sold or registered in the country after 01.04.2020. She argued that registration of BS-IV vehicles was permitted till March, 2020, so suppose a vehicle was registered just before the cut off date, it would not complete 15 years in the next six months. It was submitted that the 15 year period has to be counted from the date of registration, otherwise it will make the vehicle unusable even before it attains 15 years.
In 2008, the Calcutta High Court had passed directions to phase out commercial vehicles that are more than 15 years old. Similar orders were passed by the NGT on 11.08.2016 and 01.10.2020.
The NGT, in its impugned order dated 26.07.2022, had passed a slew of directions to the State of West Bengal, one of them being the phasing out of old vehicles, precisely, vehicles more than 15 years old.