Odd-Even rule: Delhi HC refuses to entertain plea agnst exemption to women

Delhi High Court on Friday rejected a plea against exemptions granted to women and two-wheelers in the odd-even car rationing scheme, scheduled to resume from April 15, terming it “premature”. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath observed that the plea was not for public interest but for “publicity interest only”.

“This writ petition is premature. We cannot say this is for public interest. It is for publicity interest only,” the bench said, adding, “the petition is premature so we are not inclined to entertain it at this stage.”

During the hearing, the counsel appearing for petitioner Karuna Chhatwal referred to media reports and said the Delhi Government has not considered the suggestions on not exempting two-wheelers and women in the odd-even scheme. “These are all newspapers reports. May be they (Delhi government) are considering it,” the bench said.

When the counsel urged that the petition be heard, the bench observed, “Sorry, not at this stage. We are only saying that this writ petition is premature. If this was really a public interest litigation, we would not have done this.” Delhi-resident Chhatwal has approached the high court contending that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, in the second phase of the scheme, has exempted women and two wheelers which they should not have done.

She submitted that two-wheelers emit pollutants and account for almost 60% of air pollution while cars constitute a part of the remaining air pollution. She said the scheme was introduced to control air pollution and exempting women drivers will defeat the very objective. The AAP government had announced that the second phase of the 15 days odd-even scheme will start for a fortnight from April 15.

During the first phase of the scheme in January this year, the vehicles exempted from odd-even scheme included the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, Union Ministers and Governors and Chief Ministers, barring Delhi. Besides, women drivers, CNG vehicles, two- wheelers, ambulances, defence and embassy vehicles were also exempted.

Chhatwal had said there was no constitutional provision to grant such exemption and the scheme was “infringing Right to Life of public at large, which is violation of fundamental right provided under Article 21 of Constitution of India”. She said the scheme was introduced to control air pollution and exempting women drivers will defeat the very objective.