- The Supreme Court has ordered a ban on sales of vehicles compliant with BS-IV emission norms in India starting 1st April 2020.
- The BS-IV norms have been enforced across the country since April 2017.
- In 2016, the Centre had announced the country would skip the BS-V norms altogether and adopt BS-VI norms by 2020.
- SC observation:
- The right to life, as envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution of India includes within its ambit the right of a citizen to live in a clean environment.
- Any extension of time in introducing the new emission norms would adversely impact the health of citizens as the pollution has reached an “alarming and critical” level.
- The amount spent on countering the ills of pollution such as polluted air, damaged lungs and the cost of health care far outweigh marginal extra profits that manufacturers might make who want to stretch the timeline.
- Once BS-VI emission norms are enforced, there will be a 68% improvement in PM 2.5.
- Reasons for ban:
- The pollution has reached an “alarming and critical” level all over India.
- India has the dubious distinction of having 15 out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world.
- The situation is grave where children and unborn children suffer from pollution and issues of inter-generational equity are involved.
- Manufacturers stand:
- The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers had sought time to sell stocks of non-BS-VI compliant vehicles.
- The automobile companies had assured to stop manufacturing BS -IV vehicles before the deadline but called for a Grace period of six months to sell the stock.
- The court, however, rejecting the plea and said that manufacturing as well as sale of BS -IV will not be allowed.
6. Likely Impact of the ban:
- BS VI compliant vehicles are going to be more expensive than BS IV compliant vehicles.
- People have a tendency to buy cheaper vehicle(s) even from a neighbouring city.
- About the BS norms:
- Bharat stage (BS) emission norms are standards instituted by the government to regulate output of air pollutants from motor vehicles. The BS IV norms have been enforced across the country since April 2017.
- In fact, the difference between BS-IV and BS-VI is in the amount of sulphur in the fuel with the latter estimated to bring down sulphur content by almost 80 per cent.