The Vehicle Scrappage Policy, which came into effect in April 2022, was implemented by the Government of India to phase out old passenger and commercial vehicles with the aim of reducing urban air pollution, increasing passenger and road safety, and stimulating vehicle sales. Under this policy, the government stated that all vehicles over 15 years of age should be scrapped. However, recently, the High Court of Delhi ordered the Transport Department of Delhi to stop the scrappage of an old Daewoo Matiz hatchback that belonged to an old lady, under the consideration that it was her “family car” and was part of their family heritage.
As per the case, Sushma Prasad, a retired government servant, requested the Delhi High Court with a plea that the Matiz car was seized from her and sent for scrappage. However, she did not want the car to get scrapped because it was her family’s car, had a lot of sentimental value, and was her family heritage.
She stated that she did not receive any prior notice before the government agency seized the vehicle for scrapping. She added that she was exploring the options for the conversion of the car into an electric vehicle with retrofitted EV kits.
In her plea to the court, Sushma Prasad stated, “The present petition raises important questions of law, including that of the right of a person to protect and preserve tangible entities belonging to one’s parents in order to ensure the continuation of family values and heritage in the generations yet unborn. This question has a direct and proportional connection with the Right to Life guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India and its wide-encompassing interpretations laid down by the Supreme Court.”
The plea by Prasad further stated that the car was bought in the name of her mother and was gifted to her, but it was seized by the Transport Department by force and was sent for scrapping “without having any authority under law to dispossess the petitioner of her family heritage.” She also stated in the plea that “it was the desire of the mother of the petitioner that certain tangible entities which were her name/owned by her should be retained in the family and not disposed of or sold. In her view, this was the only way in which the grandchildren and great-grandchildren could have their existence.”
Taking note of these points, Justice Manoj Ohri, who presided over the case, issued an order imposing a halt on the process of scrappage of the said vehicle, and asked the Transport Department and its authorized vehicle scrapping agency to respond to the woman’s plea. Justice Ohri, in the recent court order, stated, “Till the next hearing, the respondent shall ensure that the subject vehicle is not dismantled or scrapped.” The court recorded her assurance that the car would neither ply nor be parked on a public space unless after retrofitting the same.