SC ordered ban on BS-IV vehicles by 2020 for regulation of auto emission norms

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on October 24, 2018, ordered a complete ban on the sale and registration of Bharat Stage IV vehicles in the country from April 1, 2020, considering the importance of switching to cleaner fuel to combat vehicular pollution.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta also mentioned that BS-VI vehicles will be allowed only after the deadline. It further said, “It is an established principle of law that the right to life, as envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, includes the right to a decent environment. It includes within its ambit the right of a citizen to live in a clean environment.”

The difference between BS-IV and BS-VI (which is comparable to Euro 6) is in the amount of Sulphur present in the fuel. The Bharat Stage is the emission standards that are established by the government to regulate the discharge of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles.

It is estimated that the BS-VI will bring down the Sulphur content by 80 per cent — from 50 parts per million (ppm) to 10 ppm. Experts also believe that Nitrous Oxide emissions from diesel cars and petrol cars are expected to reduce by nearly 70 per cent and 25 per cent.

The court emphasised on the benefits of moving from BS-IV to BS-VI and said, “When we compare BS-VI fuel with BS-IV fuel, there is a massive improvement in environmental terms. Once BS-VI emission norms are enforced, there will be a 68% improvement in PM 2.5. This is not a small change. It is a vast improvement and the faster it is brought, the better it is.”

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) requested for more time to sell the stocks of non-BS-VI compliant vehicles manufactured up to March 31, 2020. Automakers said that they require “six to nine months” time to shift the assembly line to manufacture BS-VI compliant vehicles and if the request is not accepted, they will have to “start manufacturing BS-VI compliant vehicles well before 31.03.2020 and at least three to six months prior to the said date.”

While rejecting the request, the court said, “If there is a conflict between health and wealth, obviously, health will have to be given precedence. When we are concerned with the health of not one citizen but the entire citizenry including the future citizens of the country, the larger public interest has to outweigh the much smaller pecuniary interest of the industry, in this case, the automobile industry, especially when the entire wherewithal to introduce the cleaner technology exists.”

The lawyer assisting the court suggested the implementation of BS-VI vehicles at least in Delhi, by April 2020. The court opposed the suggestion and said that this approach was not successful earlier during the adoption of the BS-IV vehicles. It further added that the people have a tendency of buying cheaper vehicles from the neighbouring states and this issue of air pollution is not only consign with Delhi but countrywide.

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