the Supreme Court, observing that “health of the public is more important than commercial interest of manufacturers” banned the sale and registration of pollution-causing BS-III compliant vehicles across the country from April 1 when BS-IV emission norms will come into force.
A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur also significantly disallowed sale of existing stock of 8.24 lakh BSIII vehicles. “The health of people is more important than commercial interest of manufacturers”, the bench said.
The manufactures had contended that they have already stopped manufacturing BS-III vehicles from March 1 and ban on their sale would hit the industry hard.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, told the bench that the companies are committed to follow the emission norms and had already started making BS-IV compliant vehicles but they should be allowed to dispose of the existing stocks which could be done in the next 7-8 months.
Singhvi, appearing for Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), told the bench that it needs around a year’s time to dispose of the inventory of BS-III vehicles and bulk of the stock can be sold in seven-eight months. He said that phasing out of the vehicles should be done gradually as since 2010 till March 2017, 41 automobile firms have manufactured 13 crore BS-III vehicles and their stock at present is 8.24 lakh. “We are companies of reputation. Don’t portray us as a villain. We are not running away. We also want that our environment should be pollution free and we are saying we will comply with the directions.The process should be a gradual one,” Singhvi had said.
SC observed that the automobile companies knew about the BS-IV notification in 2014 and when people were aware in 2010 that it was coming up, then the firms should have scaled down the production of BS-III vehicles