In a new development in the ongoing BS-IV compliant vehicular ban case, the SC has barred the registration of BS4 vehicles until further decisions are made. The Supreme Court said today that all registration processes shall remain at a halt until the next hearing, scheduled August 13. The bench has also expressed dismay at the blatant disregard of the rules imposed after the lockdown.
In an earlier decision, the SC had relaxed the deadline on the ban and had allowed the sale of 10% of the existing BS-IV stock across India, except Delhi-NCR. However, it was noticed that the sales continued even after the new deadline, where dealers continued to sell the BS-IV cars even after repeated instructions by the court not to.
“An unusual number of BS-IV vehicles were sold during the lockdown”, as believed by the SC bench. Headed by Justice Arun Mishra, and with members BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, the bench was further angered by the behaviour of the FADA. “You are in great trouble. We will prosecute somebody. We will take appropriate action against these fellows”, the bench told the FADA counsel. They have also asked the association to provide the court details of all the vehicles sold during the lockdown period, especially during March-end.
The SC ruling to extend the deadline for the sale of BSIV vehicles has been in play for a couple of months. On the previous hearing, the SC had announced that all that BSIV cars sold after the original March 31, 2020 deadline will not be registered. This was in contrast to a previous order which allowed the dealers to successfully sell the pre-existing stock. The SC suggested that this move had been taken due to the violation of the order by automobile dealers. The court said that the vehicles were continued being sold despite the direct order. In a video conference, the bench plead to not play fraud, “Do not take advantage of this court by playing fraud.”
The SC had also announced that only those vehicles that had been registered on the Vahan portal will be deemed legal, on July 8. The Court noted that FADA had understated the number of vehicles its members sold after March 31. It said that more than 17,000 vehicles have not been registered and uploaded on the portal. After checking with the Government data, only those BSIV vehicles that have been uploaded till March 31 will be allowed registration.
The bench had also expressed displeasure on the next hearing, i.e. July 24, over the plea issued by FADA that the dealers must be allowed to return the unsold stock back to the manufacturers. Despite being well aware of the deadline, the dealers continued to sell the inventory and have now landed themselves in hot water. “Why should we pass orders for that? The dealers were aware of the deadline”, the bench demanded.
All further registration processes of BS4 cars have been shut until the next hearing.