‘Providing subsidised diesel to the owners of luxury cars and other highly profit making industries is against the spirit of the Constitution’
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Union Ministries of Environment & Forests, Petroleum & Natural Gas and Finance and the Central Pollution Control Board on a public interest litigation submitting that the sudden rise in the use of diesel cars due to the huge subsidy on the fuel had raised the pollution levels in the Capital and other cities in the country.
The petitioner, social worker A. Narayanan, urged the Court to pass directions to the Union Government to withdraw the subsidy to affluent sections of society and prescribe stringent emission standards on all appropriate parameters for diesel vehicles uniformly throughout the country to control the pollution.
The petitioner further submitted that by providing subsidy on the fuel for all types of diesel users without any differentiation, the Government of India was creating conditions that would eventually cause serious short term and long term health hazards to the people as well as increase the already existing socio-economic inequity among the citizens of the country.
Providing diesel at the subsidised rate to the owners of luxury cars and other highly profit making industries was also against the spirit of article 39(c) of the Constitution, which mandates that “the State shall ensure operation of the economic system in a manner that does not result in the concentration of wealth”, the petitioner said. It was axiomatic that providing subsidy to the rich resulted in the concentration of wealth, the petitioner added.
The petitioner urged the Court to direct the Government to withdraw subsidy on diesel for the affluent sections of society, for telecommunication towers of the private sector, malls, supermarkets and commercial establishments and bring in market determined pricing mechanism exclusively for such users or impose an appropriate cess on these entities to compensate for the huge loss to the public exchequer.
A Division Bench of the comprising Justice A. K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw asked the respondent to file replies to the petition by September 5.