The Supreme Court on Wednesday banned the sale of Bharat Stage III vehicles from April 1, rejecting the plea of the automobile makers for more time to dispose of the pre-BS IV vehicles in stock.
The apex court observed that the "health of the people is far far more important than the commercial interest of automobile manufactures".
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta prohibited registration of any vehicles which do not meet the Bharat Stage-IV emission norm standards from April 1.
The court was emphatic in its short order that “on and from 1st April, 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 1st April, 2017”.
The order, for which the reasons will be supplied on a later date, further stated that “all the vehicle-registering authorities under the Motor Vehicles Act are prohibited from registering such vehicles on and from 1st April, 2017 that do not meet BS-IV emission standards, except on proof that such a vehicle has already been sold on or before 31st March, 2017”.
The top court had on Tuesday reserved its verdict on pleas seeking ban on the sale and registration of BS-III compliant vehicles after April 1.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), had told the Bench that it needed around a year's time to dispose of the inventory of BS III vehicles and the bulk of the stock could be sold in seven-eight months.
He had said that phasing out of the vehicles should be done gradually, as 41 automobile firms had manufactured 130 million BS III vehicles from 2010 to March 2017 and their stock at present stood at 824,000.
The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), which had sought ban on registration of such vehicles after April 1, had said that the automobile firms were having the latest technology for a long time and these should have scaled down the production of BS III vehicles.
The automobile firms had told the Supreme Court on Monday that it was not possible for them to convert the existing stock of BS III compliant two and four-wheelers to BS IV emission norms.