The Supreme Court Friday rejected the plea filed by an association of automobile dealers seeking extension of the April 1, 2020 deadline by one more month to sell Bharat Stage-IV (BS4) norms compliant vehicles across the country. The apex court had on October 24, 2018 said no Bharat Stage-IV (BS4) vehicle would be sold or registered in India from April 1, 2020.
Bharat Stage (BS) emission norms are standards instituted by the government to regulate output of air pollutants from motor vehicles. The BS4 norms have been enforced across the country since April 2017. In 2016, the Centre had announced that India would skip the BS5 norms altogether and adopt BS6 norms by 2020.
The plea filed by the association came up for hearing on Friday before a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta which made it clear that the apex court would not extend the deadline even for a day.
The counsel appearing for the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association told the bench that the apex court's order would come into force on April 1, 2020 but dealers would face the issue of unsold inventory of BS4 compliant vehicles. "Up to March 31, 2020, we can sell it (BS4 vehicles). We should be given one more months' time," the lawyer said, adding, "There is slowdown in the automobile industry. Kindly allow us to sell BS4 vehicles to clear the stock."
The bench, while referring to the prayer made in the application filed by the association, said the order was passed by the apex court one and half years ago. "You should not have produced BS4 vehicles after that. Even after filing this application, you have produced these vehicles," the bench said. "The application is dismissed," the bench said, adding, "We will not give even one day". When the association's counsel urged the court that their application was like a "mercy plea", the bench said, "No".
In its October 2018 order, the top court had said that any extension of time in introducing new emission norms would adversely impact the health of citizens as the pollution has reached an "alarming and critical" level. It had said there cannot be any compromise on the health of citizens which has to take precedence over the "greed" of a few automobile manufacturers who want to stretch the timeline to make a "little more money". The court had passed the order in 2018 while deciding the issue of whether BS4 compliant vehicles should be permitted to be sold in India after March 31, 2020.
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