No new registration of diesel cabs in Delhi: Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said there will be no new registration of diesel taxis and only cabs running on petrol and compressed natural gas (CNG) or either of two will be registered in Delhi The ban on registration of diesel vehicles with engine capacity of 2,000 cc or above will meanwhile continue in the national capital till further orders. A bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice R. Banumathi said all the cabs now operating within National Capital Territory (NCT) area will be allowed to operate in National Capital Region (NCR). Addressing the problem being faced by the people in the wake of the order banning the running of diesel cabs as flagged by the central and Delhi governments, the court said that diesel taxis holding all-India tourist permit will be allowed to operate point-to-point for the pickup and drop of the people within Delhi/NCR till the expiry of their permits. Pointing out that these diesel vehicles operating under such permits would have to "comply with regulations of safety, security and fare", the bench said that any future renewal of their permit would be subject to an undertaking that in future they would not run their diesel taxis for the pickup and drop of people on point to point basis. The bench said that the operators of these vehicles would faithfully adhere to the rules and regulation of the competent authority as it modified its earlier April 30 order banning the plying of the diesel cabs in NCR after it refused to give any further extension of time for diesel cab owners to switch over the cleaner CNG. Having said this, the court said the government will frame suitable rules and there has to be a gradual phase out of diesel cabs. The top court by its December 16, 2015 order had asked the diesel cab operators in Delhi to switch over to CNG by March 1, and by a January 5 order, brought in all diesel cars operating in National Capital Region in the ambit of the December 16, 2015 order while extending the deadline to March 31. On March 31 on request by the diesel cab operators, the time was extended to April 30 with court then making it clear that it would give not further extension of time to switch over to CNG.  Appearing for IT sector apex body NASSCOM, senior counsel Kapil Sibal told the court that the prohibition on the plying of the diesel cabs could drive BPO business out of the country and adversely affect 2.5 lakhs employees working with them. Telling the court that it needs time to phase out 14,000 taxis ferrying the BPO staff, he said that once the existing contract that various BPOs were having with can companies comes to an end, they would enter into contract with those having CNG fuelled cabs.