The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed willingness to interact with the Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari to consider issues related to procurement of electric vehicles (EVs) for public transport and setting up charging infrastructure for these vehicles in the country. EVs would play a major role in curbing air pollution.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant asked the Additional Solicitor General N.S. Nadkarni if the minister can come over for an interaction on this matter, and assist the court. “Could the minister come to the Supreme Court and explain the proposal to introduce vehicles run on electricity/hydrogen,” the court queried the top law officer.
Nadkarni replied this may send a wrong message and political colour added to it; otherwise, the minister would be happy to come to the top court. The court clarified that there is nothing political about it. Although, the law officer said that there was nothing wrong in politicians coming to the court.
The court said, “we understand Prashant Bhushan is a political person, but he will not argue with the minister.”
The observation from the top court came during the hearing on the plea of an NGO, represented by Bhushan, on the implementation of a scheme, National E-Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP), 2020. According to this scheme, the government were to procure electric vehicles.
The apex court in its order clarified it would like to consider issues related to EVs with the “assistance of an authority” empowered to take decisions.
Speaking to IANS, Nadkarni clarified, “The observation from the top court was an invite to the transport minister.”
The top court also recommended government to explore possibilities of making EVs affordable.
Bhushan argued under the scheme the authorities were supposed to encourage sale of EVs through subsidies, and also provide charging infrastructure at public places like malls and petrol pumps.
The bench will take up the matter after four weeks.