Can environment minister come to SC, explain proposal to introduce e-vehicles

Nadkarni raised objection, saying the appearance of the minister can be misused for political purposes. Photo: iStock

The Supreme Court on Wednesday (February 19) expressed its keenness to interact with the Union environment minister to deal with the issue of gradual conversion of all public transport and government vehicles into Electric Vehicles (EVs) to curb air pollution.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde enquired from additional solicitor general A.N.S. Nadkarni as to whether the minister can come over for an interaction to assist this court.

“Can environment minister come to Supreme Court and explain proposal to introduce non-polluting vehicles run on electricity/hydrogen,” the bench asked the law officer.

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Nadkarni raised objection, saying the appearance of the minister can be misused for political purposes. However, the law officer said that there was nothing wrong in politicians appearing before the court.

“We understand that Prashant Bhushan is a political person but he is not going to argue with the minister,” the bench said.

During the hearing, Bhushan, appearing for NGO CPIL, said there was a scheme, National E-Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP), 2020 and as per it the electric vehicles were to be procured by the government.

The authorities were also required to provide charging points for electric vehicles at public places like malls and petrol pumps. Bhushan also said that under the scheme the authorities were required to promote sale of electric vehicles by providing subsidies.

The bench adjourned the hearing for four weeks and ordered that in the meantime all issues relating to electric vehicles be considered by the government with the assistance of an authority empowered to take decisions.

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