HC refuses to interfere in Delhi's odd-even scheme

PTI1_7_2016_000040B Vehicles move as security personnel stand gaurd at South Block during a foggy morning in New Delhi | PTI

Delhi High Court on Monday refused to interfere with AAP government's odd-even vehicles policy to control rising air pollution in the city, observing that restrictions under the scheme were only till January 15.

The court, however, directed the government to take into consideration the contents of the petitions, which had challenged the government's scheme, before taking any further future of action.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said, though the implementation of the scheme may have caused hardship to a section of society, "power of judicial review cannot be extended to determine correctness of such policy decision".

"Keeping in view that restrictions under notification are only for a limited period of 15 days and it is stated that the scheme has been enforced as a pilot project to ascertain the reduction, if any, of pollution levels, we are of the view that interference by this court is not warranted," it said.

The court also said in its 12-page order, "Implementation may have caused hardship to a section of the society, however, the power of judicial review cannot be extended to determine the correctness of such policy decision or to find out whether there could be more appropriate or better alternatives."

"It's neither within domain of the courts nor the scope of judicial review to embark upon an enquiry as to whether a particular public policy is wise or whether a better public policy can be evolved as suggested by petitioners," the bench added.

It also observed that "law is well settled that on matters affecting policy, courts will not interfere unless the policy is unconstitutional or contrary to statutory provisions or arbitrary or irrational or in abuse of power.

"Since, the policy decisions are taken based on expert knowledge of person concerned, courts are normally not equipped to question the correctness of a policy decision," the bench said.

On January 8, the high court had reserved its order on the pleas challenging the scheme after Delhi government defended its stand on the issue saying per capita toxic gas emission had declined due to lesser number of cars on city roads.

The high court had earlier questioned the impact of the odd-even operation on pollution and asked the AAP government to consider restricting the programme, slated for a fortnight till January 15, to a week.

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Topics : #Odd-even scheme

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