M.C. Mehta vsUnion of India and Ors (Interim Order)(Order dated April 16th, 1999, April 29th 99 and order dated May 13th, 99)


Keeping in mind the vehicular pollution in Delhi in the next millennium, a Public Interest Litigation was filed by Mr. M.C. Mehta in the Supreme Court of India seeking various relief’s from the court to curb the vehicular traffic in Delhi. On 7th January 1998 a committee had been constituted under the Chairmanship of Sri BhureLal known as “Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority for the National Capital Region and a direction was issued by the apex court to submit a report about the action taken by the committee for controlling vehicular pollution and matters connected therewith. As per its order, dated April 16th, the Court perused the report submitted by the said committee (of April 1, ’99).

According to the report private (non commercial vehicle comprise 90% of the Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and respirable particulate matter (RSPM) from vehicular exhaust over Delhi is due to diesel emission. It was estimated that chronic exposure to such toxic air contaminant would lead to 300 additional cases of lung cancer per year. The petitioner has prayed before the court to suspend the registration of diesel vehicles in Delhi until further orders are passed by the court as the automobile industries sought time for examining the proposal made by others with regard to Euro norms.

When the matter came up for hearing on April 29th considering the suggestions made by BhureLal Committee, Amicus Curie and automobile manufacturers the court forced the Indian Automobile Industries to confirm to the Euro II and Euro III norms. The court in its order directed all private (non commercial) vehicles which conforms to Euro II norm to be registered in the NCR without, restriction. All private (non commercial) vehicles shall conform to Euro I norm by 1st June, 1999.

The same type of vehicle shall conforms to Euro II norms to 1st April 2000. This direction will be applicable to diesel and petrol driven cars (private non commercial vehicle). To facilitate registration the court further observed the registering authority may register the vehicle concerned on a certificate of the manufacture duly authenticated by the authorized officer certifying that the vehicle concerned confirm to Euro I/Euro II norms. In its 13th May order the court clarified that restriction imposed on April 29th order would not apply to registration of vehicles which are fitted with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) kits and ply on CNG only. It is also clarified in this order that Euro I norm for the purpose has been notified by the Government of India through a Notification dated 28.8.97.