No registration and sale of BS-IV vehicles is permitted across the country, the Supreme Court said on Monday while observing that pollution from such vehicles would be "injurious" and "further burden on human health".
The apex court took umbrage over the "violation" of its March 27 order by which it had allowed sale of limited number of BS-IV vehicles for 10 days across India, except in Delhi-national capital region (NCR), after lifting of the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
The top court had on March 27 this year said it was permitting 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.
The apex court had in October 2018 said no BS-IV vehicle would be sold or registered in India from April 1, 2020. In 2016, the Centre had announced that India would skip the BS-V norms and adopt BS-VI by 2020.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and S Abdul Nazeer, which heard the matter on Monday through video-conferencing, said it is "startling" to note that even after lifting of lockdown on May 3, "when the sales have taken place and as per our order, no registration could have been made without informing this court as to how many vehicles have been sold throughout India."
"It is made clear that now no registration and sale of the BS-IV vehicles is permitted," the bench said in its order.
It said that registration of vehicles, which were to be sold out of the 10 per cent, cannot be made without its permission and without giving particulars as ordered by the court in March.
"There is clear cut violation of at least the second part of the order passed by this court (on March 27). Incomplete affidavit has been filed on June 13, 2020," the bench said, adding that there is "also violation" with regard to first part of its order.
The bench noted that as per compliance affidavit filed regarding first part of its March 27 order, more than 2,25,000 vehicles were waiting registration as on March 31 and this exceeds the figure which was specified in the order.
"Our order is very clear that the manufacturers should have been ready because of the deadline set for BS-VI compliant vehicles, there is no justification to extend the time which was fixed long back in the year 2018," the bench noted in its order.
"This court further observed that this is not something new which has occurred," it noted, adding, "It would be further injurious and further burden on human health to be caused by pollution from BS-IV vehicles when BS-VI vehicles are supposed to be produced by the manufactures well in advance, considering the deadline of March 31, 2020".
The bench said it is not inclined to permit registration of number of vehicles which were not mentioned in its order.
"Let details of the vehicles which were sold upto March 31, 2020 and on which date they were sold, be also specified, specifically giving details of two-wheelers, cars and other commercial vehicles and the sales made after lifting of the lockdown under 10 per cent throughout India by the members of the association (of automobile dealers) as well as the persons who are not the members of the association, be also furnished," the bench said.
"It be also specified whether sale of vehicle was specified on E-Vahan portal of Government of India as on March 31, 2020," the bench said, while making it clear that no registration of BS-IV vehicle be made without its permission.
The bench asked Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, to collect details from all the RTOs and furnish information about how many BS-IV vehicles were sold and registered after lifting of the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
The bench has posted the matter for hearing on June 19.
BS emission norms are standards instituted by the government to regulate output of air pollutants from motor vehicles.
In March this year, the apex court was informed about the unsold inventory of BS-IV vehicles — around seven lakh two wheelers, 15,000 passenger cars and 12,000 commercial vehicles.
It was told that there were 1,05,000 two-wheelers, 2,250 passenger cars and 2,000 commercial vehicles, which were sold but not registered through out the country.
The top court had then ordered that vehicles, which were sold but not registered, be registered by the authorities by April 30. It had also asked the association of automobile dealers to furnish on affidavit the details of purchasers of these vehicles and also the details of registration.