December,9,2015: The Delhi high court on Wednesday refused to stay the AAP government’s odd-even rule for private cars, a radical road rationing formula to reduce the number of vehicles in the Capital grappling with heavy air pollution.
A division bench of Justices G Rohini and Jayant Nath refused to pass any order on two PILs challenging the government’s decision to implement the plan from January 1, 2016.
“They (government) have proposed an idea for which suggestions have been called from various stakeholders of society. Meetings are being held in this regard. Let’s see what the stakeholders suggest,” the bench said. “… So let them try it.”
The Arvind Kejriwal government will implement the plan on a trial basis for 15 days from New Year’s Day.
“We will take up the matter after two weeks, by when the suggestions may also reach to the government,” the bench said, fixing the next hearing on December 23.
The decision of the high court, which last week observed that Delhi has turned into a gas chamber, is seen as a shot in the arm for the government’s efforts to bring down the city’s air pollution, one of the worst in the world.
“You can’t use these PILs just to pressurise the government,” the court warned.
Advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, asked the court to dismiss the PILs, saying the government has been discussing the issue with various groups.
The petitions — one by advocate Shweta Kapoor and another by Sarvesh Singh — challenged the government’s decision to implement the odd-even road rule.
On Tuesday, Delhi transport minister Gopal Rai said the government has discarded the original plan to allow private cars having registration numbers ending with an odd number to ply only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It reserved Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for even-numbered cars, with no such restrictions for Sundays.
Later, the government decided that odd dates such as 1, 3, 5 and 7 will be fixed for odd-numbered cars.
Petitioner Kapoor asked the court to stop the government from implementing the rule because of the “undeveloped and unsafe public transport in Delhi”.
“It is a matter of concern that the respondents (government) have not been able to provide a safe public transport to women in this city… The thought of taking public transport late at night which is neither well-lit nor crowded makes women feel unsafe,” her petition said.