The Centre on Monday put its weight behind car-makers’ proposal to deposit one per cent of the showroom price of every 2000 CC diesel vehicle bought in Delhi for the cause of reducing pollution.

It challenged the Supreme Court’s rationale behind imposing a blanket ban on fresh registration of diesel luxury cars and SUVs with over 2000 CC engine capacity in the National Capital Region to curb pollution.

“Big diesel cars and SUVs have better emissions norms than smaller cars. Just because a car is big and powerful does not mean it is more polluting. Besides, the more expensive a car, say ₹75 lakh or ₹1.5 crore, the better they are equipped against pollution,” the Centre, represented by Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi, presented its logic for lifting the ban.

“The ban was imposed when they were already confirming to emission norms. This showed inconsistency on our side in policy. Companies are fed up with the unpredictability and have said they will go away. These foreign companies have huge investments involved here,” Rohatgi submitted before a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice TS Thakur.

For one, the government asked the Supreme Court what authority it had to impose a cess when taxation came within the domain of the government. This was in response to an idea mooted by the court to make high-end diesel car buyers pay a hefty one-time anti-pollution cess or an environmental compensatory charge for opting a polluting fuel.

Besides, Rohatgi said the government was ready with a scheme by which persons with cars manufactured before 2005 could sell their vehicles at government scrap-yards.

Rohatgi requested the Bench to not impose the cess and hold back its decision by six weeks.

“We do not want to commit a mistake in this case or do something unconventional. Please do a study on what can be done and tell us. We will hold it (cess) back,” Chief Justice Thakur responded, reserving its orders on the pleas of car-makers to lift the ban. But the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority advised the court against the car-makers’ proposal to pay one per cent of the showroom price.