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BS-IV violation order

SC sets Friday as deadline for filing detailed affidavits explaining the number of BS-IV vehicles in the country after March 31
The top court had on March 27 said it was permitting the sale of 10 per cent of unsold BS-IV vehicles to make up for six days lost due to the lockdown which had started from March 25.

Our Legal Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 15.06.20, 10:21 PM

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the ministry of road transport and highways besides the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA) to file by Friday detailed affidavits explaining the number of BS-IV vehicles in the country after March 31.

The apex court took umbrage over the “violation” of its March 27 order by which it had allowed the sale of limited number of BS-IV vehicles for 10 days across India, except in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), after the lifting of the Covid-19 induced lockdown.

The top court had on March 27 said it was permitting the sale of 10 per cent of unsold BS-IV vehicles to make up for six days lost due to the lockdown which had started from March 25.

It had also allowed registration of 1.05 lakh two-wheelers, 2,250 passenger cars and 2,000 commercial vehicles which were sold but not registered across the country.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and S Abdul Nazeer, which heard the matter on Monday through video-conferencing, said it was “startling” to note that even after the lifting of the lockdown on May 3, “when the sales have taken place and according to our order, no registration could have been made without informing this court as to how many vehicles have been sold throughout India”.

The FADA through its senior counsel K.V. Viswanathan, urged the court to extend by 15 days the grace period after the total lifting of lockdown in the country to enable the dealers to dispose off the BS IV vehicles.

However, the bench did not pass any directions on the counsel’s plea and instead expressed anguish over the association’s failure to file an affidavit .

The bench noted more than 2,25,000 vehicles were awaiting registration as on March 31 and this exceeds the figure which was specified in the order.

The apex court had earlier in October 2018 imposed a ban on the sales of BS-IV vehicles to facilitate complete switchover to BS-VI compliant vehicles, which is globally used and considered environment friendly.

“Where is the affidavit ? What will happen to the 2,25,000 vehicles that have already been sold ?...Do you think this is a game ? It had to be filed by May; it’s already end of June now ….You do not know me. In this case, I’ll take such strict action that your client will remember...” a visibly annoyed Justice Arun Mishra told the senior counsel appearing for the automobile federation.

The bench later adjourned the hearing till Friday. 

Technically in terms of an earlier order of the Apex court there is total ban on sale of B.S IV vehicles in the country post March 31, 2020.

However, the Apex court on March 27 in view of the total lockdown had permitted a limited sale for 10 days of 10 per cent of an estimated 7 crore unsold BS-IV norm vehicles after the nation-wide lockdown comes to an end, as it reluctantly extended the earlier March 31, 2020 deadline fixed for banning any further sale of the vehicles to curb the rising pollution problem in the country.

Though the lockdown had been gradually lifted in different parts of the country, the FADA had sought a further extension with a 15 days grace period after the lifting of the entire lockdown in the country to dispose of the B.S IV vehicles.

The court had earlier extended the deadline on the Association’s plea that in view of the Corona crisis, an extension was required as otherwise, it pleaded that the entire industry already facing severe financial crush would go bankrupt resulting in chaos like unemployment and folding up of the companies.

The Apex court had earlier in October 2018 imposed a ban on all further sale of BS-IV norm vehicles to facilitate complete switchover to BS-VI compliant vehicles which is globally used and considered environment friendly.

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