The Delhi government announced its plan to restrict the number of cars on roads without first conducting a public debate and a study of the pros and cons of a system based on whether the registration number of a motor vehicle ends in an even or odd digit, argues a petition to be heard on Wednesday by the Delhi High Court.
Filed as a PIL on Monday by advocate R.K. Kapoor before a division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, the petition said the government should be restrained from enforcing the decision.
Representing the petitioner, lawyer Shweta Kapoor wondered whether it was in public interest to make a policy for restricted movement of private vehicles, specifically privately-owned cars, without having conducted a detailed study about its pros and cons and without considering the disturbing effect the same would have on the public at large.
To bring down the increasing air pollution level in the national capital, the Delhi government has decided that from January 1, private vehicles would be allowed to run on the streets on alternate days depending on whether their licence plates end in odd or even numbers.
The plea said the government had not taken into consideration that there was a principle of ‘public will’ under the democratic system of governance and the same could be taken away by issuing such directions and restrictions.
It also raised the question of women’s safety, saying the government had not been able to provide a safe public transport to women and that the impugned decision was “unreasonable and arbitrary”.
“The women who have always felt unsafe in this city feel safe driving their own vehicles back from their workplace after sundown or even late at night or engaging their own drivers where they have the paying capacity but now they will have to face the horrors on alternate days,” said the plea.
It said the government had also ignored the differently-abled who used modified private vehicles and under no circumstance they would be able to commute by public transport.
The plea also said that curtailing the movement of citizens on the basis of registration number of their vehicles would also leave several citizens stranded on every alternate day.
“Curtailing the constitutional rights of the citizens by following unreasonable and arbitrary measures is only going to add to the chaos and shall not actually uproot the actual causes of pollution from the city which include pollution dust, entry of trucks inside the city of Delhi and traditional ways of waste disposal in the city,” it added.