The earlier order stated that sales of BS4 vehicles could continue for 10 days after the lifting of the nationwide lockdown
It may be recalled that the Supreme Court of India had set the date at 1st April 2020 for bringing in BS6 emission standards into effect. The ruling cited that there would be no sales of BS4 vehicles post 31st March 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic hit in mid March followed by a 21 day lockdown.
The initial ruling gave dealerships leeway to sell off 10 percent of their unsold stocks for 10 days post the lockdown but this ruling was not valid for dealers in Delhi-NCR due to rising levels of air pollution. Supreme Court had on March 27th announced that it would permit sale of 10 percent of unsold BS4 compliant vehicles for 10 days after the lifting of the lockdown. Now, noting some discrepancies in the figures of BS4 vehicles sold, the Apex Court has recalled this order.
The bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Indira Banerjee have recalled this order. They state that auto dealers violated this order and continued to sell BS4 vehicles during the lockdown in the last week of March 2020 and after March 31st as well. Hence no registration will be granted to any BS4 vehicles sold after March 31st.
Slamming the Federation of Automobile Dealers’ Association of India (FADA) for committing fraud, the Apex Court stated that only those vehicles which have been registered with VAHAN portal would be protected and had asked FADA to furnish such details. These figures were then corroborated with sales data and information available on the VAHAN portal. It was then found that there were over 17,000 vehicles sold which were not registered on the VAHAN portal and it was on the basis of these figures that the fraud came to light.
The SC noted that FADA had sold more vehicles than what was permitted by the SC and have hence recalled the order. Now no BS4 vehicle will be registered, if sold after March 31, 2020. These vehicles were sold online with hefty discounts ranging from 3-40 percent after the said date. It was noted that while the court had permitted sale and registration of 1.05 lakh units of BS-IV vehicles, a total of 2.55 lakh vehicles were sold.
FADA, represented by Senior Advocate K.V. Viswanathan, argued that the court had allowed registration in March and has sought relaxation of the order so as to permit registration of these BS4 vehicles. The Bench has posted the matter for a further hearing on July 23.