NEW DELHI, March 29 (Xinhua) -- India's Supreme Court Wednesday banned the sale of all vehicles that that do not comply with strict emission norms under Bharat Stage IV from April 1, ruling that public health is more important than commercial interests.
The Bharat Stage (BS) emission standards are standards instituted by the Indian government to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles. The standards, based on European regulations, were first introduced in 2000. Currently most vehicles in India are BS III complaint.
The apex court's order came despite the Indian government backing vehicle manufacturers who had pleaded that they had unsold stock of about 900,000 vehicles that meet the BS III emission norms.
While spelling out the order, the Supreme Court said the seminal issue was whether the commercial interests of manufacturers and dealers of vehicles takes primacy over health hazard due to increased air pollution of millions of our country men and women. "The answer is quite obvious," a two-judge bench said.
"The number of unsold stock of BS III is small as compared to the total number of vehicles, keeping in view of public health concerns, commercial interests are not important. The health of the people is far, far more important," the court said.
The Supreme Court's order came in accordance with the recommendations of the country's Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) that had called for a ban on the sale of BS III vehicles after April 1.
After the court's order, share prices of major carmakers, including Ashok Leyland, Hero, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, plunged.
Experts said the court's decision would affect car dealers who have the unsold inventory and no provision to return the vehicles back to the manufacturers. It would also affect after-sales servicemen and other car dealership jobs.