Home » Current Affairs » Environment » The case of levying Cess on diesel cars to fight pollution in SC.

The case of levying Cess on diesel cars to fight pollution in SC.

The Ministry of Finance have turned down the Supreme Courts (SC) Green Bench Decision to levy 30% cess on all diesel cars. The Supreme Court decision was based on the PIL (Public Interest Litigation).

Harish Salve, who is working as an Amicus curiae in this case, had presented the report of the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, during the February hearing, which stated that –

  • Due to pollution there are about 3000 children deaths annually in Delhi
  • The main cause for the pollution are the diesel cars.

Hence, for this reason the cess should be levied on diesel cars.

Salve while replying to the court have stated that –

  • He requested the court to pass an order for additional 30% environment compensation charge to diesel vehicles.
  • Amount collected should be used for producing clean diesel vehicle (10 ppm sulphur), which will enable the introduction of Euro V and VI norms and strengthen public transport system (buses and metros).

 While defending against the cess, the Ministry presented the Nielson report for the year 2013, the report stated that 

  • Approximately 17% of the diesel is consumed by the transport vehicle, whereas as 13.15% users are private and utility vehicles. The ministry mentioned that by leaving tax on these 13.15% of vehicles will not solve the problem or nor the government can achieve the desired result (hardly any money will be collected in the form of cess).
  • The ministry also pointed out the policy decision mentioning that the automobile sector is identified as the “Sunrise” sector, especially the Small car segment sector. The excise duties on small cars, sedans and SUVs in the Interim Budget of 2014 were slashed to promote growth momentum in the economy.
  • The price disparity is one of the problems of dieselisation; to control this government had decided to deregulate the prices in a phased manner to completely eliminate subsidy. This will soon nullify the difference in prices between Diesel and Petrol. 
  • In India, more than 90% of the SUVs run on diesel while 34% small cars and about 70% of large and medium vehicles are on diesel.

The court had sought replies from the Centre, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan governments. The Centre, in its affidavit, has reproduced the finance ministry’s response against levying green cess on diesel cars.

Emission Norms for Petrol & Diesel Vehicles in India

Currently in India we have Bharat stage norms to regulate the output of air pollutants from vehicles.
The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment & Forests. The standards are based on European regulations which were introduced in 2000.

The Euro based norms were recommended by Mashelkar committee.

On October 6, 2003, the National Auto Fuel Policy has been announced, which envisages a phased program for introducing Euro 2 – 4 emission and fuel regulations by 2010.

BS (Bharat Stage)

Date of Application

Cities included

Sulphur Content
Bharat Stage IV April 2010 Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad including Secunderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Kanpur, Agra, Solapur and Lucknow Refer Table
Bharat Stage III October 2010 Rest of India

150 mg/kg and 350 mg/kg

Sulpur being a major air pollutant, reduction in sulphur content in auto fuels would go a long way in reducing air pollution.


CobaltCO(g/kwhr) Hydrocarbon  Hc (g/kwhr) Nitrogen oxideNOx (g/kwhr) Particulate Matter Pm-10 (g/kwhr)
1991 Norms 14 3.5 18
1996 Norms 11.2 2.4 14.4
India stage 2000  norms 4.5 1.1 8.0 0.36
Bharat stage-II 4.0 1.1 7.0 0.15
Bharat Stage-III 2.1 1.6 5.0 0.10
Bharat Stage-IV 1.5 0.96 3.5


Leave a Reply