Chief Justice of India T S Thakur today virtually endorsed the AAP government’s odd-even scheme for plying of private vehicles saying it can be followed if it helps in reducing the problem, a statement which was welcomed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Commenting on the ambitious move which was announced in the wake of alarming levels of air quality in the city, Justice Thakur said the problem was grave and drastic measures are needed to curb pollution.
Asked whether the apex court judges would follow the policy and sacrifice by resorting to car pooling to reach the court, he said, “we would love to do so if it helps reduce pollution”.
“There is no difficulty in this. I think this is the bare minimum which we can do. People call it sacrifice. This not a sacrifice, this is symbolic to show that judges are doing it,” the CJI said in an interaction with journalists here.
In response to a specific query as to how the CJI will follow it, Justice Thakur also said he could share the car with his next door neighbour judge Justice A K Sikri.
Reacting to the Chief Justice’s views, Kejriwal said in a tweet, “CJI’s support 2 odd even formula is welcome n huge encouragement. SC judges pooling cars wud inspire millions 2 follow. Thank u My Lords”.
“The way he (CJI) has extended his support, Delhi Government and the public is extremely thankful and will feel encouraged. If Supreme Court judges can resort to car pooling, it will be inspirational for others too,” the Chief Minister later told reporters.
During his interaction, the CJI had recalled his experience of flying from Jammu to Delhi and said there was a huge smoke cover over Punjab due to burning of crops by farmers there.
“I mentioned this to the Prime Minister (about it). He said that he has talked about it in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ (radio programme),” Justice Thakur said, adding that the farmers need to be made aware of the problem of pollution.
“Odd number hai, ya even number hai, iss se fark nahi padta (the car has odd or even registration number does not matter), because in any case, you reach court in a car,” he said.
In a radical step, the Kejriwal government has announced that private vehicles bearing odd and even registration numbers will be allowed to ply only on alternate days starting January 1 next year.