SC pulls up auto dealers on sale of BS-IV vehicles

The Supreme Court on Wednesday recalled its March 27 order which allowed automobile dealers 10 days’ time, immediately after lockdown is lifted, to sell 10% of their stock of BS-IV emission norm compliant vehicles.

The 10-day window was given by the court because the lockdown was imposed suddenly on March 25, 2020. The court had earlier banned the sale of BS-IV vehicles from April 1. The court had allowed the 10-day leeway to the dealers, except those in Delhi-NCR, to make good any loss they may have suffered due to the unexpected national lockdown.

However, on Wednesday, a three-judge Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra was surprised by sales figures submitted by dealers. Justice Mishra said the figures show “more vehicles were sold during the lockdown” than post lockdown.

“Your (automobile dealers) own figures show more BS-IV vehicles were sold during the lockdown We allowed you to sell 10% stock post lockdown on the condition that you would not sell them during the lockdown... By selling them online, you have taken advantage of the court’s order and violated the lockdown also. You cannot play direct fraud on the court,” Justice Mishra observed orally. Senior advocate K.V. Vishwanathan, representing the interests of the auto dealers, maintained the sales were done online. He said there was no violation of the lockdown or the court order.

Justice Mishra warned the dealers not to take court orders lightly.

“We see BS IV vehicles even now on the roads of Delhi... You have done more business on those seven days of lockdown (before March 31). You cannot take advantage of a court order, it amounts to fraud. Why should we not recall our order,” Justice Mishra.

The court in its order said the sole consideration for allowing an extra 10 days of sale of BS IV stock was that the dealers would not sell the vehicles during the lockdown. Since their own figures show they have done so, the court said it was best to rescind its March 27 order.

The court further asked Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati to verify the vehicle transactions and registration done during the lockdown on the e-VAHAN portal.

On March 27, the court had ordered that the sold vehicles should be registered by the authorities by April 30, 2020.

Bharat Stage (BS) emission norm is a standard instituted by the government to regulate output of air pollutants from motor vehicles. The BS-IV norm has been in force since April, 2017.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 12:01:13 PM |

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