AAP-firmation for odd-even formula? Delhi HC dismisses PILs against pollution-curbing initiative

The Delhi High Court on Monday, upheld the AAP government's odd-even formula, announcing that the initiative will continue till 15 January, as planned.

Earlier the high court had asked the Delhi government why the scheme could not be restricted to one week. This was based on a petition.

The petition was made by counsel Shweta Bharti on behalf of Petitioners restauranteur Gunjan Khanna and advocate Manoj Kumar, whether there exists any reasonable relation between the implementation of odd-even formula to the reduction in pollution being sought to be achieved.

The high court dismissing the petition said it will not interfere in the Delhi government's notification. Any extension in the applicable date of notification will be treated separately.


Reacting to the high court's decision, Delhi's Minister of Transport Gopal Rai said:

The petition had asked if the state government had adequate alternate public transport to cater to the needs of the inconvenienced public? The Delhi High Court has sought response from the State Government on 8 January. The Court also asked why one week is not enough to verify the efficacy of the impact on pollution.

The government had told the high court on Friday that the odd-even formula had resulted in Delhi's lowest pollution peak compared to the previous high-smog episodes this winter.

"This winter, out of all the severe smog episodes so far (with consecutive days in severe category), the peak pollution during odd-even programme has been the lowest...This shows that despite hostile weather conditions — no wind, dip in temperature and western disturbance — peak pollution during the odd-even scheme has been much lower," advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Delhi government, told the court citing a report prepared by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

He said there "is a definite positive effect" and the scheme "may be continued after two weeks".

"Pollution is not going to go away. The odd-even scheme is an emergency measure to arrest peaking of the air pollution level," Salve had said, submitting the data of the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on air pollution since 1 January.

The court, hearing 12 PILs challenging the government decision to allow even- and odd-numbered vehicles to ply on alternate dates 1-15 January, had also asked why diesel cabs were still plying on roads despite a ban.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jan 11, 2016 13:18:50 IST

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