National

SC relaxes BS-IV deadline

Delhi-NCR dealers denied relief owing to pollution

In a relief to automobile dealers, the Supreme Court on Friday extended the March 31, 2020 deadline for the sale and registration of BS-IV emission norm-compliant vehicles because of the “extraordinary” situation arising out of the 21-day COVID-19 lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta divided the inventory of these vehicles into two categories — vehicles that were sold before March 31 and not registered; and those that remain unsold with the dealers.

The court said the first category of vehicles could be registered after the lockdown was withdrawn. As for the unsold vehicles, dealers could sell 10% of the stock after the lockdown was lifted. However, dealers in Delhi-NCR have been denied the relief owing to the high levels of the pollution in the national capital.

Short sale window

The court has indicated that dealers, other than those in Delhi-NCR, would be given a short window to sell 10% of their unsold vehicles. The Bench would finalise the time frame of the window in its order, which is yet to be published. However, lawyers involved in the case have said it may be 10-14 days after the lifting of the lockdown was lifted. The case was heard through videoconferencing.

Senior advocate K.V. Vishwanathan and Raghenth Basant appeared for the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA). Additional Solicitor-General A.N.S. Nadkarni appeared for the Union government. The FADA had filed the application for an extension of the deadline.

In his oral arguments, Mr. Vishwanathan said the pandemic was an “unforeseen eventuality”. The FADA argued that though March 31 was the deadline, some States had started implementing the bar on the sale and registration of BS-IV vehicles as early as the last week of February. The application said invocation of Section 144 of the Cr.PC. (to prohibit the assembly of four or more people in an area) had caused the footfalls to drop.

The order comes as a relief for buyers because non-registration of their vehicles had seen them run from pillar to post.

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

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Printable version | Jun 7, 2020 12:23:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-relaxes-bs-iv-deadline/article31186706.ece

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