The Madhya Pradesh High Court, in an important order on Friday clarified that Pollution Under Control Certificate (PUCC) centres are mandatory in every petrol pump in the state to keep pollution levels under control.
Therefore, the order by the state government to make PUCC centre mandatory in all fuel stations i.e. petrol-diesel and gas pumps is correct. The Court held that this arrangement has been given with the intention of reducing pollution due to pollution emitted from millions of vehicles. In such a situation, opposition to it is unfair.
On Thursday, the case was heard by the division bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafique and Justice Vijay Kumar Shukla.
This PIL was filed on behalf of 25 petrol-diesel pump operators including Chilwara resident Anil Deshmukh, Jayesh Dhanji Bhai Shah, Manoj Patikar.
Advocate Jaideep Sirpurkar, on behalf of the petitioner, informed the court that on August 29, 2017, the Central government issued an advisory to the state governments. In view of this, the State Transport Commissioner (Gwalior) on October 15, 2020 issued orders to all regional-district transport officers of the state that PUCC centres should be set up compulsorily in all fuel stations. In this context, the Chhindwara Collector directed the petrol pump operator, one of the petitioners, to set up a PUCC centre at his pump on November 5, 2020.
It was argued that the Environmental Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA), an expert body, has recommended limiting the number of PUCC centres. In such a situation, the order to make PUCC centre mandatory in every fuel station is contrary to the above recommendation. Such an order is also a violation of the fundamental right to trade described in Article 19-G of the Constitution. Therefore, the said order should be repealed.
It was argued by the state and Central government that having PUCC centres in fuel stations would increase the reliability of PUCC testing. Also, these centres can be brought under an accountable framework. Therefore, the petition is immaterial.
After looking into the matter, the High Court said there is no flaw in the order mandating the PUCC centres. Therefore, the PIL is dismissed. Deputy Government Advocate Swapnil Ganguly appeared on behalf of the state government.