The Supreme Court has directed that motor insurance renewals are not to be allowed without a valid Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate for all types of automobiles, in a move to crack down on polluting vehicles.
The Court ordered insurance companies to refuse renewal applications for vehicles without pollution certificates. It accepted the recommendations of the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) to ensure mandatory linking of the PUC certificate with the issuance of annual vehicle insurance policies, reported The Times of India.
The Court acted on a report prepared by the EPCA that showed a very poor level of compliance with the PUC programme.
In Delhi, only 23% of vehicles are sent for PUC tests. With mandatory linking of vehicle insurance with the PUC certificate, the compliance level can improve significantly, especially as the Supreme Court has directed its enforcement nationwide, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said.
The Court also directed that PUC centres be established at all fuel stations.
To improve the effectiveness of the PUC programme, the bench of judges also directed that PUC centres to be linked online and a data centre set up to prevent manual tampering. Currently, the system is seen as plagued with corruption, improper testing and non-functioning equipment;,fake certificates, lack of qualified PUC operators, and poor enforcement of calibration requirements for testing equipment. The new directives can help to improve compliance and management.
India has several cities rated as worst in the world for air pollution. For example, the annual average PM2.5 concentration in Delhi is typically more than 10 times the US National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 12 micrograms per cubic metre.