India is only some days away from officially raising emissions norms to Bharat Stage IV, and as this development occurs, automobile manufacturers have been in a dilemma as to what happens to the vehicles that comply to Bharat Stage III standards. The question still remains, will the outdated stock be allowed to be sold and registered or not. According to recent data released by SIAM, about 9 lakh units of BS III vehicles currently lie in manufacturers' inventory, as some car companies understood the court order as 31st March being the last day for manufacturing BS III units.
The Federation of Automobile Dealers’ Associations (FADA) has taken up the matter with Supreme Court. The central government too is pitching for allowing of sale of the BS III stock beyond 31st March, the hearing of which is being carried out at the Supreme Court.
Speaking on the matter, Director International Affairs FADA Nikunj Sanghi said: “BSIII registration and sales after 31st March, another day of uncertainty. Dealers nervous. Almost by the wire!”
The government has argued for the case on the following grounds:
- The existing rules that govern migration of emission standards provide only for halting of manufacturing of vehicles that comply to the previous norms.
- These rules have not been challenged or objected to at any stage.
- The same set of rules were followed when the country moved on to BS III emission norms.
- Sale and registration of BS III vehicles can continue as these vehicles do not become redundant. They can very well be run on BS IV fuel.
- The stock of BS III vehicles that remain unsold account for a tiny fraction of the 19 crore vehicles already plying on the roads.
Although manufacturers have been reintroducing their products with updated engines, about all 20,000 dealers in India have stocks of BS III vehicles, especially of commercial vehicles and two wheelers.
Also, according to a PTI report, the National Green Tribunal has directed the Centre to clarify whether parallel proceedings were going on in the Supreme Court on a plea related to the scheduled introduction of BS-IV norms from April 1.
A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim directed the Road Transport and Highways Ministry, Environment Ministry and the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) to state whether the hearing on a plea opposing auto industry body SIAM's call to defer the new emission norms would be multiplicity of the proceedings or not.
"The (petitioner's) counsel brought to our notice that the issue raised adjudication in this case is also raised before the Supreme Court of India in another proceedings and the hearing of that case is scheduled. In these circumstances, we direct the applicant and all concerned to make a statement as to whether this proceeding will be multiplicity of the proceedings or not," the bench said.
The matter is listed for next hearing on April 12. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by R K Sharma who said he was aggrieved by the conduct of SIAM for its call to defer the new emission norms and seeking extension of time limit for selling underlying stock of BS-III compliant vehicles.