Supreme Court relaxes deadline to transition to BS-VI amid lockdown

Deadline to switch to cleaner fuel extended by 10 days across the country

By Shagun
Published: Saturday 28 March 2020

The deadline for a transition to Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) from BS-IV emission standards in India was extended up to 10 days by the Supreme Court on March 27, 2020, keeping in mind the nationwide lockdown to curb the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The ruling gives only marginal relief to automobile manufacturers, allowing them to sell only 10 per cent of their unsold stock of BS-IV vehicles for 10 more days after the nationwide lockdown is lifted.

The earlier deadline for switching from BS-IV was March 31, with the roll out of BS-VI standards meant to begin from April 1.

All vehicle models sold after the deadline would follow BS-VI standards, with no BS-IV vehicle allowed to be sold or registered in India.

The national capital region (Delhi-NCR), however — with one of the highest levels of air pollution in the world — was kept out of the purview of the order.

There would be no sale or registration of BS-IV vehicles in Delhi-NCR after March 31.

Vehicles sold before the lockdown could be registered till April 30, according to the court.

The Federation of Automobile Dealers Association had moved the top court, to appeal for a relaxation in the deadline to sell their stock of BS-IV vehicles till 20 days after the lockdown.

Manufacturers had an estimated Rs 6,400 crore of unsold inventory of BS-IV vehicles in the country, according to the application.

There were 700,000 unsold two wheelers, 15,000 passenger cars, and 12,000 commercial vehicles, the petition said.

“If out of the vehicles which are permitted to be sold, some of them remain unsold, then obviously there is no question of any further extension of time for sale of these kind of vehicles,” the Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said.

BS-VI emission standards dictate a decrease in sulphur content to as low as 10 parts per million (ppm), five times lesser than BS-IV standards that called for 50 ppm sulphur, the current fuel quality in use.

The top court convened through video conferencing as a social distancing measure because of the pandemic.

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