The Supreme Court has upheld its decision to ban sales of non-BS IV vehicles in the country from April 1, 2017. This will mean that automakers will no longer be allowed to sell BS-III vehicle post March 31, 2017. In reply to an application filed by the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA) which urged the apex court to allow the sale of non-BS IV vehicles, the Supreme Court observed that automakers have been aware since 2010 that all vehicles need to convert to BS-IV norms from April 1, 2017. This meant that the automakers had enough time to move over to BS-IV from the existing BS-III norms.
Reports indicate that 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 to our country men and women. The answer is quite obvious.”
FADA’s petition also highlighted that on two previous occasions when the industry switched to BS-II and BS-III in 2005 and 2010, respectively, the automakers’ were allowed to sell their existing stock. This time around, with growing environmental concerns and the finality of the Supreme Court's verdict, there is little that automakers can do other than switching over to new norms. Popular automakers in the country like Toyota and Bajaj have, however, supported this move.