SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) has filed a review Petition in the Supreme Court in the Judgement issued in the case of BS III Vehicles. In a statement issued today, SIAM said that the Review Petition has pointed out certain facts that were not covered in the Judgement, which had gone to the root of the matter and had influenced the Hon’ble Court to pass such an Order. Just so you know, the Supreme Court of India had banned the sales of BS III vehicles from April 1, 2017 in the country, and due to which auto companies had to suffer heavy losses.
Giving an example, SIAM said that the Hon’ble Court has erroneously construed an Office Memorandum from Ministry of Road Transport & Highways dated 3rd March 2017 to be an Office Memorandum dated 3rd March, 2015, i.e. 2 years earlier in holding that the Government had sent a clear message to the manufacturers to stop production of BS III vehicles before 1st April 17. Whereas this was a Government assurance given 3 weeks before the judgement, that unsold stocks of BS III vehicles which were in the pipeline, would be permitted to be sold and registered even after 1st April 2017 as has been done even when BS II and BS III were implemented. Acting on the representations made on such clarification issued by the Government of India as late as in March 2017, as well as the plain reading of the Rules, the manufacturers had a reasonable and legitimate expectation that unsold inventories of BS III stocks could be sold even after 1st April, 2017 and until such stocks were exhausted.
SIAM has also highlighted in the review petition that the staggered phase-in of BS IV Emission norms for vehicles was not done to help the auto industry as mentioned in the judgement. This staggering was done to ensure that adequate capacities for the BS IV fuel supply gets established to expand the coverage of fuel availability to other parts of the country as per the roadmap agreed with the Oil Industry. The Hon’ble Court while recording the series of Notifications issued by the Government to implement BS IV has erred in holding the BS IV roadmap was for the convenience of the vehicle manufacturers, pointing out that the roadmap to vehicle manufacturers was known from 2010, which is not true, and this presents the auto industry in a wrong light. SIAM has pointed out that correct position is that the initial limited coverage implementation of BS IV norms and its gradual extension to different areas of the country was entirely dependent on the Nation’s our capacity and ability to provide BS IV fuel.
SIAM has also highlighted that the Court has further based its judgement on an assumption that there will be 80% reduction in emissions of PM between BS III and BS IV standards. Though it may be true for only Heavy Vehicles, but such reduction is much less in other categories of vehicles. In the Petition, SIAM has also stated that the auto industry too had invested Rs. 25,000 crores to upgrade vehicle technologies to BS IV level progressively and was therefore an equal contributor in ensuring the improvement in the environment. Moreover, even in the Report of the Expert Committee on Auto Fuel Vision and Policy 2025, which has been referred to in the Judgment, the Committee had only referred to ‘manufacturing’ of vehicle from a cut-off date and nowhere it is mentioned that the cut-off date would be considered as the date for commencing sale and registration of next stage of emission norms. Therefore, Government notification issued was keeping in mind the well laid down principle of sustainable development while balancing the industrial development with the protection of environment and consequently the health of people. Hence, the entire effort to bring cleaner air was a joint effort by industry and Government who had both acted in consonance and put in huge investments to meet the cost of achieving BS IV norms as laid down by the Expert Committee.