Giving some relief to the auto industry, the Supreme Court on Friday relaxed the March 31 deadline for the sale of BS-IV vehicles in the country and gave an extension of 10 days to clear 10% of unsold inventory post the end of the lockdown period due to Covid-19. Allowing only 10% of unsold BS-IV inventory within 10 days after the lockdown ends on April 14, a bench led by Justice Arun Mishra, however, barred sale of BS-IV vehicles in Delhi-NCR and the sold vehicles have to be registered within 10 days of sale.
The apex court observed that it can’t keep extending the deadline over coronavirus. “No point extending time for BS IV vehicles, burdening environment further… Let’s learn to sacrifice, do something for country’s environment, have sympathy,” Justice Mishra said, adding that they understand the psychology of businesses and dealers.The top court has mandated that only BS-VI emission norms-compliant vehicles will be allowed for sale and registration, beginning April 1. The Federation of Automobile Dealers’ Associations had sought extension of the deadline for the sale and registration of BS-IV-compliant vehicle till May-end. FADA through senior counsel K V Vishwanathan argued that BS-IV stock worth `7,000 crore was still unsold.
FADA argued that 15,000 passenger cars, 12,000 commercial vehicles, 7 lakh two-wheelers are at stake due to the slowdown in the industry and also the drop in footfalls at showrooms due to the Covid-19. FADA’s application came only a month after the apex court had turned down its similar request seeking an extension of the last date for selling BS-IV vehicles. The auto dealers’ body had said that unsold BS-IV inventory would lead to financial hardships for the dealers, and “even threaten the existence of their business”.The Supreme Court bench led by Justice Arun Mishra had on February 14 clarified that the deadline for BS-IV vehicles will not be extended by even one day. “You should not have produced BS-IV vehicles after that. Even after filing this application, you have produced these vehicles,” the bench said. “We will not give even one day.”
The SC in its October 2018 order had banned sale of BS-IV vehicles in the country, saying 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”.
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