SC reserves order on plea to ban BS-III vehicles

Manufacturers seek more time to sell existing inventory

SC reserves order on plea to ban BS-III vehicles
The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on pleas seeking ban on sale and registration of BS-III vehicles after April 1 for enforcing the upgraded standard of BS-IV emission norms. A bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said it will pronounce the operative part of the verdict on Wednesday.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), told the bench that it needs around 12 months to dispose of the inventory of BS-III vehicles. He said 41 automobile firms have manufactured 13 crore BS-III vehicles between 2010 and March 2017 and their stock at present is 8.24 lakh.

“Don’t portray us as villains. We are not running away. We too want our environment to be pollution-free and we are saying we will comply with the directions,” he pleaded. He said the plea to stop registration of vehicles after April 1 is like an ambush on the industry, which is the country’s second biggest job generator and has the highest industry tax rate.

The bench then observed that the automobile companies knew about the BS-IV notification in 2014 and should have scaled down the production. Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for auto major Hero MotoCorp, said the company has an unsold inventory of 3.28 lakh BS-III compliant two-wheelers and could loose over Rs 1,500 crore due to the ban. Senior lawyer Shyam Diwan, representing Bajaj Auto, which supported the plea on ban, said the ban on manufacture also meant ban on sale/registration of such vehicles and no extension should be given.

The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), which had sought the ban said the automobile firms were having the latest technology for a long time and these should have scaled down the production of BS-III vehicles.


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