The Supreme Court on 17 January, issued a notice to the Centre and sought its reply on a Public Interest Litigation focusing on the failure of government policies to provide the adoption of Electric Vehicles given the growing impact of fossil fuel-based vehicles on Global Warming and Air Pollution.
The bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde was hearing a petition filed by the organizations including the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, Common Cause, and Sitaram Jindal Foundation, which raised concerns about the impact of vehicles using non-renewable fossil fuels on Global warming. The PIL further sought the implementation of the National E-Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP), 2020 which recommended gradual conversion of all public transport and government vehicles into electric vehicles.
It was alleged in the PIL that the citizens’ right to health and clean environment under the Constitution are being continuously violated due to governmental apathy in mitigating the impact of climate change due to the vehicles causing air pollution and climate change.
“The government had set a modest target of sale of 7 million Electric Vehicles under its 2012 NEMMP plan, but only 0.263 million vehicles have been sold as of January 2019, showing a total failure of that scheme,” the petition stated.
The advocate appearing for the NGOs, Prashant Bhushan stated that in 2012, the government has planned to implement Electric Vehicles in all sectors of public transportation and even suggested the subsidies for the purchase of EVs, besides providing for the requisite charging infrastructure by mandating fast and normal charging points in apartment buildings, parking lots, government offices, malls, etc. However, he alleged that the government has not been able to implement the scheme successfully.
Further, Bhushan asserted that “the government’s failure to implement these plans is the direct cause for the rise in air pollution levels that have turned our cities into a virtual gas chamber having severe negative health impacts on the lives of citizens and especially those of our children.”
Acknowledging the allegations of the PIL the bench served notice to the center to submit a status report and made the Ministry of Surface Transport and Highways and the minister concerned parties to the petition. The matter has been further listed for hearing after four weeks.