CSE welcomes Supreme Court decision to levy 'pollution' charge on trucks entering Delhi. The decision is a big victory in fight against air pollution in Delhi

October 20, 2015

  • CSE has welcomed Supreme Court (SC) decision to levy an additional charge of Rs 700 on light commercial vehicles and Rs 1,300 on bigger commercial vehicles entering Delhi.  SC will pass this order on Monday.

  • The Charge will be applicable on vehicles carrying goods to Delhi but will exempt passenger busses and trucks carrying food, vegetables, milk and fuel to Delhi

  • According to CSE’s study, these measures will significantly reduce air pollution in the city

  • CSE has congratulated Amicus Curiae Harish Salve for taking up the issue, Delhi and Central governments for their agreement on levying charges on commercial vehicles  

New Delhi, October 9: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Friday applauded the Supreme Court for acknowledging and recognizing the problem of severe pollution being caused by trucks in Delhi. After hearing an application by Amicus Curiae Harish Salve, the Supreme Court on Friday said it would pass an order levying a charge of Rs 700 on light commercial vehicles and Rs 1,300 on heavier trucks that are using Delhi roads. “This is a major victory for fight against deadly air pollution. The issue of severe and dangerous air pollution in Delhi has been acknowledged and recognized by the Supreme Court. We would like to thank the Hon’ble Supreme Court for the decision, and amicus curiae Harish Salve who filed an application in the court, seeking immediate measures before winter sets in,” said CSE Director General Sunita Narain. Narain also congratulated the Central and Delhi governments for agreeing and supporting this decision.

Salve’s application
On Monday, October 5, Harish Salve filed an application in the Supreme Court, using analysis from a new CSE study that found the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was underestimating the number of trucks entering Delhi. Stating Delhi to be one of the most polluted cities not only in India but also the world, the application said that Particulate Matter (PM) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NOx) emitted by trucks were responsible for causing enormous pollution in Delhi. Salve further stated that transiting trucks were using Delhi roads as the city’s taxes were less than other alternative routes and, therefore, made travel through Delhi cheaper.

Salve further cited the ‘polluter pays’ principle of the Environment Law and appealed to the court to levy an ‘Environment Compensation Charge’ for commercial vehicles travelling through Delhi. He also requested the court that the additional tax should be used for improving the state of public transport and roads in Delhi.

SC judgment 
Subsequently, the matter was heard by the Supreme Court and while the judgment will be passed on Monday, some of the details have already been shared by SC. These include an additional levy of Rs 700 on light commercial vehicles and Rs 1,300 on bigger commercial vehicles. The levy will apply to trucks not only transiting through Delhi but also carrying goods to Delhi. An exemption will be made for passenger buses, Delhi-bound trucks that are carrying food, vegetables, milk, other food items and oil tankers.

CSE study
The CSE study monitored nine entry points into Delhi and found the MCD estimation of trucks entering Delhi was 70 per cent less than actual – the difference in MCD estimation and CSE study was between 50 and 96 per cent at different points. It investigated the levies on other routes and found that Delhi’s taxes were cheaper and therefore more lucrative for trucks using Delhi as a transit corridor. 

CSE study recommended a ‘pollution levy’ on trucks. It also recommended introduction of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for trucks which will enable electronic payment and tracking them electronically as they pass through tollbooths. This will help identify non-destined trucks (for Delhi) with greater precision and reduce traffic congestion at tollbooths.

  • For Amicus Curiae’s application to the Supreme Court, please click

  • For CSE’s recommendations on reducing air pollution in Delhi, please click

  • For the presentation on CSE’s study on toxic trucks, please click


For further information, please contact

Vrinda Nagar, CSE Media Resource Centre, at 9654106253/ vrinda.nagar@cseindia.org