Anti-pollution body seeks ban on registration of BS-III emission vehicles
Vehicular pollution: Bajaj is the only company that exhausted its BS-III emission compliant stock. The others, however, maintain the 2014 notification that fixed April 1, 2017 as the date for a countrywide rollout of BS-IV norms does not bar sale but manufacturing.delhi Updated: Mar 20, 2017 23:44 IST
The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) moved the top court seeking a ban on the registration of BS-III emission variant vehicles, asking for a direction to the companies to stop selling the outdated technology and only roll out BS-IV compliant automobiles.
Senior advocate Harish Salve placed before a bench headed by Justice MB Lokur the EPCA’s proposal and asked the court to take a final decision on it. His suggestion was strongly opposed by automobile manufacturers except Bajaj Auto, which filed a similar plea.
Bajaj is the only company that exhausted its BS-III emission compliant stock. The others, however, maintain the 2014 notification that fixed April 1, 2017 as the date for a countrywide rollout of BS-IV norms does not bar sale but manufacturing.
Senior advocate KK Venugopal, appearing for Hero group, told the bench that his client had stopped production of BS-III vehicles on February 28. “The stock is lying with the distributors,” he said. According to him the earlier notification involving transformation from BS-II to BS-III expressly specified that the deadline pertained to manufacturing and not sale.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, counsel for Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), held a similar view. He challenged Bajaj’s application, urging the court not to entertain it because the company was a trade rival.
Salve disagreed with SIAM and Honda’s interpretation and asked the court to issue orders after hearing both sides. He said enough time was given to the companies to stop production of BS-III inventory and complained they had refused to divulge the exact details of the stock lying for sale.
At this the bench asked SIAM to provide the BS-III stock the companies had as on December 31, 2015 and details of how many automobiles were manufactures thereafter and the sales on monthly basis till today. SIAM will collect the information and filed a comprehensive affidavit before the next hearing, which is August 24. The court also asked the government to place its stand on the dispute.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers had in a meeting with EPCA claimed that going by present rate of sales, on March 31, there would be 45,000 three-wheelers, 75,000 commercial vehicles, 7.5 lakh two-wheelers and 20,000 passenger vehicles available for sale. Later, Bajaj said that it did not have any BS-III three-wheelers, which brought down the inventory to 25,000.