Supreme Court order on plea seeking ban on sale, registration of BS III vehicles today
The Supreme Court reserved its verdict on Tuesday on Environment Pollution Control Authority’s plea to ban sale and registration of BS-III emission vehicles after April 1.india Updated: Mar 28, 2017 23:09 IST
The Supreme Court reserved its verdict on Tuesday on Environment Pollution Control Authority’s plea to ban sale and registration of BS-III emission vehicles after April 1.
A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur is likely to give interim order Wednesday at 2 pm.
Automobile companies, except Bajaj, have opposed EPCA’s plea, which says only BS-IV compliant vehicles should be sold in the market. As per the government rules there would be an all India roll-out of BS-IV fuel from April 1 onwards. EPCA says the objective behind having a cleaner fuel technology would not be achieved if the old technology vehicles continue to flood the market.
If the court allows EPCA’s request, the order will impact around 7-8 lakh BS-III compliant vehicles that are ready for sale. These cars, two-wheelers and trucks are lying in various carmakers’ factories and showrooms across the country.
Advocates representing Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM), Hero MotoCorp and Tata opposed EPCA’s interpretation of several government notifications and contended the cut-off date was meant for stopping the manufacturing of BS-III complaint vehicles and sale and registration. They said it happened so during the transition from BS-II to BS-III.
Centre has indirectly supported the automobile makers. Solicitor general Ranjit Kumar had on Monday informed the court that the transition did not mean the existing BS-III vehicles would be off-road. “BS-III vehicles can ply on BS-IV fuel,” he had said.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for EPCA – a Supreme Court-appointed body – told the bench that carmakers were aware of the deadline and had enough time to comply with the norms. “Indian cities were among the worst polluted ones. Out of the top 20 polluted cities, 10 are in India,” he said.
Government would be spending more than Rs 80,000 crore for immediate transition from BS-IV to BS-VI, Kumar had told the court during his argument.
He was critical of EPCA for approaching the top court, saying the panel should have moved the Centre for a clarification on its statutory rules related to the deadline.
Since 2005 the government had been issuing notifications for phase-wise implementation of BS-IV, but EPCA never sought an interpretation, he had said. “EPCA has to work under the Centre’s supervision,” Kumar said and remarked that environment in Delhi was no better than 20 years ago when the panel was constituted.
His argument was not appreciated by the bench that asked him not to indulge in a blame game. “We can ask you the same question,” it said.
Centre for Science and Environment Director General and an EPCA member later told HT: “The solicitor-general and the automobile companies were speaking the same language. Instead of discussing the cost of converting a BS-III vehicle to BS-IV emission norms compliant vehicle, he spent all his time blaming the EPCA. He sided with the automobile companies and implied that they were on the right track.”