Auto industry body Siam on Thursday requested the Supreme Court to review its March 29 judgement banning the sale of Bharat Stage III vehicles April 1, 2017 onwards.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) filed a review petition in the apex court on Thursday, in which it said it has “pointed out on certain facts that were not covered in the judgment, which go to the root of the matter and had influenced the honourable court to pass such an order.”
The Supreme Court on March 29 had ordered a ban on sale of Bharat Stage III vehicles from April 1, 2017, when the BS-IV emission norms came into force. The ban forced dealers across the country to clear the BS-III stocks with them latest by March 31, offering heavy discounts, express bookings and registrations.
According to a Siam statement,”the honourable court has erroneously construed an office memorandum from ministry of road transport and highways dated March 3, 2017 to be an office memorandum dated March 3, 2015, i.e. two years earlier in holding that the government had sent a clear message to the manufacturers to stop production of BS-III vehicles before April 1, 17. Whereas this was a government assurance given three weeks before the judgement, that unsold stocks of BS-III vehicles which were in the pipeline, would be permitted to be sold and registered even after April 1, 2017, as has been done even when BS-II and BS-III were implemented.”
Acting on the government’s clarification issued “as late as in March 2017”, the manufacturers had a reasonable and legitimate expectation that unsold inventories of BS-III stocks could be sold even after 1st April, 2017 and until such stocks were exhausted, the Siam said in its petition.
Siam also said the staggered phase-in of BS-IV vehicles was to ensure adequate supplies of the BS-IV compliant fuel across the country, “not to help the auto industry as mentioned in the judgement”.
Siam also said the gradual extension of BS-IV to different areas of the country was entirely dependent on the nation’s capacity and ability to provide BS-IV fuel.
The petition also pointed out it is not true that automakers knew of the BS-IV implementation roadmap from 2010. “This presents the auto industry in a wrong light,” the Siam said.
Siam also highlighted that the court has further based its judgement on an assumption that there will be 80% reduction in emissions of particulate matter between BS-III and BS-IV standards. “Though it may be true for only heavy vehicles, but such reduction is much less in other categories of vehicles,” the industry body said.
In the petition, Siam also stated that the auto industry too had invested Rs 25,000 crore to upgrade vehicle technologies to BS-IV level progressively and was therefore an equal contributor in ensuring the improvement in the environment.
On March 29, the automakers had told the court they had 800,000 unsold two-wheelers, commercial vehicles (both small and large), passenger vehicles and three-wheelers compliant with BS-III norms. Though many automakers recalled or bought back unsold units from dealers back, around Rs 1,200 crore were lost, Siam had said in its last month’s sales review.
Of the 800,000 unsold vehicles on March 29, around 100,000 were commercial vehicles while around 670,000 were scooters and motorcycles. Tata Motors had 15,000 unsold commercial vehicles, Ashok Leyland had around 10,664 vehicles, while Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles said it had a stock of 1,500 vehicles, the Mint reported earlier this week.