The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the government and asked it to clarify how it is not a polluter and why it should not discard its five to 10-year-old diesel vehicles.

The Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur asked the government of India why it needed differential treatment.

"How can the government be a polluter? Is the government of India willing to phase out five to 10-year-old vehicles running on diesel?" The Hindu quoted the Supreme Court as saying.

The Supreme Court, during the day-long hearing, came down hard on car manufacturers and the Delhi government.

Car manufacturers Mahindra, Toyota and Mercedes, which had filed a plea to lift the ban on diesel vehicles with engine capacity of 2000cc and above till March-end, argued that their cars did not pollute much, to which the apex court responded by asking, "Do your cars emit oxygen?" The automakers have been asked to provide evidence that diesel cars of 2000cc and above pollute as much petrol-run vehicles do.

The bench also told the Delhi chief minister not to test the patience of the citizens and provide more public transport.

"Delhiites have cooperated with the government's odd-even vehicle rule. But look at the way they have travelled in jam-packed buses and Metro. You need to augment public transport, otherwise the enthusiasm with which the Delhiites followed the rule would soon evaporate. Don't test their patience," TOI quoted the Supreme Court bench of Justices Thakur, AK Sikri and R Banumathi as saying.

CJI Thakur had carpooled with a fellow judge to reach the Supreme Court on Tuesday. He is complying with the odd-even rule even though he is exempted from it.

The court also ordered commercial vehicles not meant for Delhi to not be permitted entry from National Highways (NH) 2, 10, 58 and State Highway (SH) 57. It has also sought a field report in three weeks.

Restrictions on commercial vehicles that are not Delhi-bound already exist on NH 1 and 8 after a ruling in December. Since the implementation of the restriction, there has been a 30% drop in commercial traffic in the capital, reports TOI

Delhi-bound commercial vehicles are permitted only after they pay the pollution cess, said the court.