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Delhi HC refuses interfering in AAP odd-even scheme

The odd-even scheme is a policy decision and was introduced based on the opinion of experts, the Delhi high court said today, while refusing to interfere with the Aam Aadmi Party government’s pet project to curb air pollution.

A division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said it will not “interfere unless the policy is unconstitutional or contrary to the statutory provisions”.

The bench held that the pilot project was for a limited 15-day period.

“We are of the view the interference by this court is not warranted,” it said.

“The law is well settled that on matters affecting policy this court will not interfere unless the policy is unconstitutional or contrary to the statutory provisions or arbitrary or irrational or in abuse of power since the policy decision are taken based on expert knowledge of person concerned and courts are normally not equipped to question the correctness of a policy decision,” the order said.

It added: “Keeping in view that restrictions under the notification dated 28 December, 2015 only for a limited period of 15 days and is stated that the scheme has been enforced as a pilot project to ascertain the reduction, if any, in the pollution levels, we are of the view that the interference by this court is not warranted.”

The bench, however, asked the Delhi government to consider the issues raised in over 12 different petitions against the scheme before coming out with similar restriction in future.

The bench had earlier asked the government to consider limiting the scheme to a week instead of planned 15 days and whether the data collected till date was enough to gauge the effectiveness of the policy.

The city government had defended the scheme, saying there is “a definite positive effect” of the scheme on the air pollution.

The government had claimed that vehicular pollution had fallen since 1 January when the scheme was launched. However, the petitioners contended that Central Pollution Control Board data doesn’t show any decrease in air pollution level.

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

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