Nitin Gadkari, Union Road Transport Minister, was “requested” by the Supreme Court today to come and share “innovative ideas” on tackling pollution. It was a request for the minister’s inputs, not a summons, the judges sought to clarify.

“The minister has innovative ideas. We are requesting him to come to court and assist us because he is in a position to make decisions,” Chief Justice SA Bobde, heading the bench, said.

As the government lawyer appeared reluctant and this may be “seen in a political way”, the Chief Justice clarified: “Don’t think we are summoning him. It is a request. We want someone in authority to decide. Please find out if he can come.”

The top court was hearing a petition on the implementation of government policy on electric vehicles. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who was representing the petitioner, suggested that the government can charge a fee from petrol and diesel cars and give subsidies to electric vehicles.

The court said firecrackers and stubble-burning were seasonal but cars were the major contributors to pollution. “Pollution from crackers and stubble burning is seasonal and for a short period. But (motor) vehicles are a major concern. We want to consider the issue holistically,” Chief Justice Bobde said.

“We find that the issue of the use of electric vehicles is connected to several other issues which are pending before the court. All of these issues, which pertain to the source of the power of vehicles – public and private – eventually have a great impact on the environment. This is not just in Delhi-NCR, but the entire country,” the court order read.

“We consider it appropriate that all the issues are considered simultaneously and with the assistance of authority empowered to take decisions,” it added.

The central government has been given four weeks to file a response.

(With inputs from ndtv)