M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, WP 13029/1985 (1994.10. 21) (Vehicle Pollution Case: Lead Phase Out all Vehicles

Pollution, Air Emissions controls Vehicle emissions

M. C. Mehta


Union of India and Others

Writ Petition (C) No. 13029 of 1985

(A.M. Ahmadi, K. Ramaswamy, N. Venkatachala JJ.)



Pursuent to our order dated 12.8.94 the Additional Director in the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India, has filed an affidavit indicating the action taken in response to the earlier order passed by this Court from time to time. According to this affidavit it is stated that introduction of petrol with a maximum lead content of 0.15 g/l at all outlets in four Metropolitan cities of Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras by December, 1994 has since been implemented. It is stated that the lead content in petrol sold in all the retail outlets of the aforesaid four metros now has a maximum lead content of 0.15 g/l since June, 1994. In view of this statement we find that the first part of the direction is compiled with. It was also stated earlier in point of time and re-stated in the latest affidavit that by December, 1994 the entire country would be supplied petrol with a maximum lead content of 0.15 g/l. Now that it has been possible to supply petrol with a maximum lead content of 0.15 g/l. in four metros, we think that the time is ripe to extend the scheme for supply of petrol with that lead content to other areas in the country. Since in the estimation of the concerned Ministry this may be possible by December, 1996 we accept the time limit instead of rushing them and direct that the concerned Ministry will ensure the supply of petrol with a maximum lead content of 0.15 g/l in the entire country by December, 1996. As far as lead free petrol is concerned the deponent states that it was decided to introduce the same from April, 1993 in a few selected retail outlets in the aforesaid four metros to cater to the requirement of new petrol driven vehicle fitted with catalytic converters should be available by April, 1995. We, therefore, direct that lead-free petrol should be supplied at few selected outlets in the aforesaid four metros latest by April, 1995.

Mr. Mehta then drew our attention to a note on introduction of lead free petrol appended to office memorandum dated 8.8.94 of the Ministry of Environment and Forest. We find there from that certain major decisions were taken by the said Ministry in consultation with all those who were present at the meeting of 17th June, 1994. A copy of the note indicating the decision taken may be supplied by Mr. Mehta to Mr. Reddy since he had not taken necessary instructions in that behalf. That may be done before 7th November, 1994 on which date this matter will come up. In the meantime, it must be realized that the manufacturers must also be put to notice that they would have to equip the new vehicles with catalytic converters so that they can be plied on lead free petrol.

On an earlier occasion when these matters came up before this Court it was suggested that to begin with of Government vehicles and public undertaking vehicles including public transport vehicles could be equipped with CNG cylinders with necessary modification in the vehicles to avoid pollution which is hazardous to the health of people living in highly polluted cities like Delhi and the other metros in the country. Mr. Reddy states that he would require some further time to obtain instructions in that behalf. At the same time Mr. Reddy is aware that certain vehicles in the city were converted and equipped with CNG kits and the cost thereof was not abnormal. Since Mr. Reddy has not received complete instructions in that behalf we do not pass orders in that connection today but would postpone the matter to 7.11.94 by that date the instructions on that point and in all the related issues should be complete so that we may be able to give appropriate directions in that connection also. Let the matter come up on 7th November, 1994.