People’s health far more important than automakers’ interests: SC

The Supreme Court on Wednesday banned from April 1 the sale and registration of vehicles that do not comply with Bharat Stage IV emission norms.

Published: 30th March 2017 12:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th March 2017 04:11 AM   |  A+A-

File picture of a monstrous traffic jam in New Delhi adding to the air pollution.

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday banned from April 1 the sale and registration of vehicles that do not comply with Bharat Stage IV emission norms.

The Bench upheld the deadline of March 31 for a phaseout of BS III emission norms.

Observing that health of the people is “far, far more important than the commercial interests of the manufacturers”, an apex court Bench said the makers of such vehicles have declined to take “sufficient proactive steps” despite being fully aware that the firms would be required to manufacture only BS-IV compliant vehicles from April 1, 2017. So BS-IV emission norms will now come into force from April 1.

The apex court Bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said automobile manufacturers and dealers ought never to have gone ahead with the manufacture and stocking of BS III vehicles despite knowing that a ban was a definite possibility on the event horizon.

The judges said they wouldn’t allow Big Auto to frustrate the efforts of the government to clean up the air in India. “The Centre has spent thousands of crores of rupees to upgrade technology to produce BS-IV fuel. The companies cannot be allowed to frustrate the government’s initiative to check pollution levels,” they said.

“In our opinion, the submission of the learned Amicus deserves to be accepted keeping in mind the potential health hazard of such vehicles being introduced on the road affecting millions of people in the country. The number of such vehicles may be small compared to the overall number of vehicles in the country but the health of the people is far more important than the commercial interests of the manufacturers or the loss that they are likely to suffer in respect of the so-called small number of such vehicles,” the Bench said in its detailed order.

“The manufacturers of such vehicles were fully aware that eventually from April 1, 2017 they would be required to manufacture only BS-IV compliant vehicles but for reasons that are not clear, they chose to sit back and declined to take sufficient pro-active steps,” the order stated.

The court also prohibited registration of vehicles, which do not meet BS-IV emission standards, from April 1 except on a proof that such a vehicle was sold on or before March 31.

Anti-pollution activists welcomed the decision. Sunita Narain, director-general of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) tweeted, “Huge decision by #SupremeCourt on #airpollution. Vehicle manufacturers told that they have to walk the extra mile for our right to health.”

The Environment Pollution Control Authority which had sought a ban on registration of such vehicles after April 1, said the auto firms had the latest technology for a long time and these should have scaled down the production of BS-III vehicles.

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