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Sale of BS III vehicles can continue after 31 March, Centre tells SC

LiveMint logoLiveMint 27-03-2017 Apurva Vishwanath

New Delhi: Sale and registration of vehicles with older Bharat Stage III (BS-III) emission standards can continue even after 31 March, the central government told the Supreme Court on Monday, clarifying that the cut-off date applies only to manufacturing.

The Centre’s response came on pleas filed by Bajaj Auto Ltd and the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), a statutory authority, seeking to stop the sale of BS-III vehicles. The move comes as a relief to automakers, who have a combined unsold stock of over 800,000 BS-III vehicles.

“There has been such confusion even when the switch was made from BS-II to BS-III. The notification is only about manufacturing,” solicitor general Ranjit Kumar said.

In January 2015 the centre had notified that all vehicles—passenger and commercial—must be BS-IV compliant. Several car makers have said that the notification is unclear as to whether it applies only to manufacture of vehicles or also to sales.

At the last hearing on 24 March, the apex court had considered allowing registration of BS-III vehicles on imposition of a compensatory cess.

According to an affidavit filed by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), an industry body, manufacturing of BS-III vehicles has not decreased after the Centre’s notification. Hero Motors has 297,000 vehicles, the highest number out of the total 671,000 unsold BS-III vehicles.

The hearing will continue on Tuesday.

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