The National Green Tribunal(NGT) has sought a complete ban on the sale of Volkswagen vehicles in India for flouting emission norms, sending a notice to Government of India asking to respond by 23rd December.
Saloni Ailawadi, a Delhi-based school teacher, who had sought directions to disallow “manufacturing, assembly and sale” of vehicles manufactured by Volkswagen and its group companies Skoda Auto AS and Audi AG until it is established that they are in accordance with norms in India.
Swatanter Kumar, chairperson of NGT, questioned the petitioner how the tribunal could be seen to have jurisdiction to stop the sale of the vehicles allegedly violating emission norms.
“It must be seen that the pollution being caused is due to flouting of norms by vehicles manufactured by Volkswagen and its subsidiaries and this is the right forum to check this violation,” said Sanjeev Ailawadi, legal counsel for the petitioner.
The plea filed on November 24 said, “Vehicles manufactured and sold by Volkswagen have been polluting the environment in blatant and utter disregard to government regulations, thereby endangering the lives of millions of people who are being forced to inhale poisonous fumes and suffer extreme misery on account of ill health.”
“Direct thorough inspection of vehicles being imported and sold by Volkswagen in India after their import and to disallow any further sale of such vehicles until and unless it is established that the same are not in contravene of statutory and prescribed norms as applicable in India,” it said.
The notice was issued to the Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Central Pollution Control Board and Volkswagen group.
The company has released a statement last month that all the Volkswagen vehicles sold in India are roadworthy, but ARAI has found out in its test that the NOx levels are nine times the prescribed limit as against forty times found in the United States of America.