The Supreme Court in a recent case of M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India and others 2018 has passed a judgment dated 24.10.2018 (Judgment) and held that no Bharat Stage IV (BS-IV) – compliant vehicles should be permitted to be sold in India after 31.03.2020 (Deadline).
The Judgment stated that all automobile manufacturers in India have to dispose of the vehicles which conform to BS-IV norms and have to adopt BS-VI norms, which provide improved and eco friendly technological changes, in manufacturing automobiles.
In this regard the automobile manufacturers had requested the Apex Court for extension of the Deadline as it may take longer period of time to sell the stocks of non- BS-VI compliant vehicles and to manufacture BS-VI compliant vehicles, as the BS-VI fuel would be available in India only with effect from 01.04.2020.
The Supreme Court made the following observations in the said Judgment:
According to the Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee dated 07.08.2018, the problem of air and vehicular pollution has had a cascading effect on the health of people residing in various parts of the country including the National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi.
Also, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), Indian cities of Gwalior, Allahabad, Raipur, Delhi, Ludhiana, Khanna, Varanasi and Patna are amongst the most polluted cities in the world.
Thus, there is an urgent need to ensure compliance of BS-VI norms with effect from 01.04.2020 by automobile manufacturers in India.
Further, the Union Government of India has spent approximately Rs. 30,000 Crores to make BS-VI fuel available in various parts of India. Moreover, BS-VI fuel has already been made available in the NCR of Delhi since 01.04.2018.
Thus, there is no need for extension of Deadline as there is availability of BS-VI fuel in India for manufacturing automobiles.
Moreover, manufacture of BSVI compliant vehicles has already begun in India by a number of automobile companies including M/s. Hero MotoCorp, and is expected to be finished before the Deadline.
In view of the above, other automobile manufacturers can also put in efforts to comply with BSVI norms before the Deadline.
Further, a number of automobile vehicle companies are today engaged in manufacturing hydrogen cell, fuel vehicles along with hybrid, electric and compressed natural gas vehicles, which are technologically far more advanced than BSVI compliant vehicles.
So, there should not be any difficulty for other automobile manufacturers in adopting BSVI norms in manufacturing automobiles before the Deadline.
Most importantly, every person has a right to a decent environment in India which has been held to be a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India 1950 as amended thereof by the Supreme Court in Shantistar Builders v. Narayan Khimalal Totame 1990.
Therefore, in view of a larger public interest, i.e., the health of citizens of India, the Supreme Court herein has refused to give any extension of the Deadline to comply with BSVI norms and prohibited companies from selling or registering BS-IV compliant vehicles after 01.04.2020.
Senior Legal Associate
The Indian Lawyer