The Delhi HC has asked the centre to phase out all diesel taxis from the National Capital Region because of the air pollution crisis that is choking the city. The Court, spoken for by Justice Manmohan, stated that the ban on diesel taxis should be extended to all of NCR even if the Motor Vehicles Act has to be amended.
Justice Manmohan stated that diesel had become a 'rich man's fuel' and that reducing its appeal would help keep check of the rise in diesel emissions. He went on to suggest that a committee comprising of the Union Cabinet Secretary, Delhi Chief Secretary, and Secretaries of Transport, Petroleum and Environment, should be formed to deliberate on what measures are to be taken in Delhi and NCR with regards to the alarming rise in air pollution.
Central government standing counsel Manish Mohan and Additional standing counsel for Delhi government, Naushad Ahmed Khan, made assurances to the court that they would seek instructions on this issue and would come back with an answer by 15 December.The High Court has asked app-based taxi services like Ola and Uber to submit a list with the details of their entire fleet of operating vehicles, including registration numbers, with the intention to implement a successful phasing-out of all diesel cabs by 1 March, 2016. After the deadline, the cab companies will have to make the switch to CNG.
Delhi government had on 1 January, banned the operation of app-based cab services till they complied with the guidelines of the amended Radio Taxi Scheme of 2006. A few months ago, Uber's senior advocate, Rajiv Nayar had stated that the company would be able to replace its diesel cabs with CNG ones but in a 6 month time-span since it was impossible to do so overnight.
In light of companies blatantly flaunting the diesel ban that was initially put into play, the HC has now directed all app-based taxi services to submit the number of diesel cabs that they're phasing out every month to meet next year's deadline. On 14 October, the Delhi HC had given app-based cabs permission to ply on NCR roads till 1 March next year due to the task of switching to CNG being a herculean one.