Blow to auto industry, SC bans sale of BS-III vehicles

SansadTV Bureau
File photo of Supreme Court of India.

File photo of Supreme Court of India.

The automobile industry is set to face a big blow as the Supreme Court banned the sale and registration of vehicles with the older BS-III emission norms. The ban will come into effect from April 1.

According to industry estimates, the total value of the impacted vehicles is between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 crore.

The apex court observed that the health of the people is “far, far more important” than the commercial interests of the manufacturers. The court also blamed the automobile firms for not taking “sufficient pro-active steps” despite being fully aware that they would be required to manufacture only BS-IV compliant vehicles from April 1, 2017.

The five-page order also prohibits registration of vehicles which do not meet Bharat Stage-IV emission standards, from April 1 except on a proof that such a vehicle was sold on or before March 31.

Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) called the order “frustrating”.

SIAM President Vinod Dasari warned of utter chaos in the next few days for the dealers and the finance companies which have sold BS III.

In the hearing, the manufacturers had argued that sale and registration of vehicles, which are not BS-IV compliant, should not be prohibited from April 1 and that they would not manufacture any vehicle not complying with BS-IV emission norms from April 1.

The firms had argued that they may be given a reasonable time to dispose of the existing stock of such vehicles.

But the bench blamed the manufacturers for not taking enough proactive steps for pollution-control measures.

“We direct that on and from April 1, 2017, such vehicles that are not BS-IV compliant shall not be sold in India by any manufacturer or dealer, that is to say that such vehicles whether two wheeler, three wheeler, four wheeler or commercial vehicles will not be sold in India by any manufacturer or dealer on and from April 1, 2017,” a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.

“All the vehicle registering authorities under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, are prohibited for registering such vehicles on and from April 1, 2017 that do not meet BS-IV emission standards, except on proof that such a vehicle has already been sold on or before March 31, 2017,” the bench added.

Meanwhile, green bodies lauded the ban calling a step in the right direction towards fighting air pollution.

“This is a significant step forward as this gives the message and the lesson that the automobile industry will have to walk the extra mile to address the expansive concern around public health and not weigh down the transition by taking a very narrow technical view,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

(With inputs from PTI)