The Apex body has upheld the decision to ban sales of non-BS IV vehicles effectively from April 1, 2017. The fresh verdict from Supreme Court will mean that BS-III vehicles will no longer be sold in the country. Supreme Court observed that automakers have been aware since 2010 that all vehicles need to convert to BS-IV norms from April 1, 2017. Pointing this, the court also stated that automakers had enough time to stop production for BS-III vehicles and move over to BS-IV compliant engines.
Reports indicate that the vehicle manufacturers in the country have an inventory of 824,000 units of BS III-compliant two-wheelers, three-wheelers, four-wheelers and commercial vehicles valued at around Rs 12,000 crore. Moreover, the Supreme Court also noted that allowing continuation of BS-III vehicle sales beyond March 31, 2017 does not resolve environment concerns as using BS-IV fuel in BS-III vehicle continues to be equally harmful. The Supreme Court judgment in this regard reads, “The seminal issue is whether the commercial interests of manufacturers and dealers of such vehicles that do not meet the Bharat Stage-IV emission standards as on 1st April 2017 takes primacy over the health hazard due to increased air pollution of millions of our country men and women. The answer is quite obvious.”
The petition for extension filed by the affected automakers pointed out that on previous occasions when the industry has switched to BS-II and BS-III in 2005 and 2010, the automakers’ were allowed to sell their existing stock. However, popular automakers like Toyota and Bajaj Auto supported the government’s decision and with the final verdict in place, the automakers have very little options left other than switching over to fresh norms.