Taking a tough stance against sale of BS-III vehicles in India, the Supreme Court has imposed a ban of sales of such vehicles from April 1 – the same day when the BS-IV emission norms will come in force.

The move is a much needed one considering that the pollution leves in the whole of India especially the metropolitan cities is getting worse. The sentiment was profoundly visible in the apex court’s decision when it said that auto companies should look beyond sales of their vehicles and think about increase in pollution in the country.

The Supreme Court said in its order that no new registrations of BS-III vehicles will be allowed from April 1; however, it did state that people who have purchased BS-III vehicles before April 1 can register post the April 1 deadline only if they have a valid proof of sale date.

The apex court also pointed out that its strict stance is a direct result of the sluggish approach of auto companies that were already aware of the notification and didn’t act on it. It added it is important for the industry to move away from commercial losses and focus on environment norms given hazardous pollution condition.

Reports from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) indicate there are as many as 8.2 lakh BS-III vehicles currently operational of which 96,000 are BS-III commercial vehicles and 6 lakh plus two-wheelers. Further the auto industry has at its disposal 40,000 BS-III vehicles with an inventory value of Rs 12,000 crore.

Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA) report indicates that a whopping 20,000 dealers across the country will be affected by this ban because they tend to keep stock of vehicles with them and sell them when the demand for them rises.

BS III production rose after demonetisation, when it ideally should have been reduced and knowing the BS-IV timeline.

After March 31, India will be switching to BS-IV fuel across the country and this shift will ensure that India’s auto industry can move to BS-VI by 2020 – a goal that the Modi governemnt has targeted.