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The Supreme Court today ruled that no Bharat Stage IV (BS IV) compliant vehicles shall be sold or registered in the country from April 1, 2020 onwards.
This decision was rendered by a Bench of Justices Madan Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer, and Deepak Gupta in a petition filed by MC Mehta.
Bharat Stage VI (BS VI) norms will come into force from April 1, 2020, and today’s judgment makes it clear that only those vehicles that are BS VI compliant shall be sold and registered from the date set by the Court.
The judgment penned by Justice Gupta takes note of the need to move towards cleaner fuel and the expenditure made by the government in this regard.
“The need of the hour is to move to a cleaner fuel as early as possible.”
It is observed in the judgment that the Central government had spent a sizeable amount of taxpayers’ money towards making the cleaner BS VI compliant fuel. The Court said,
“It is heartening to note that the Union, being concerned with the health of the citizens and also taking note of the urgent need for a clean environment, has taken steps to manufacture cleaner fuel.”
The Court has highlighted that environmental improvement is considerable when BS-IV and BS-VI fuels are compared. However, despite such results, some automobile manufacturers were not willing to make the shift from the old norms to the new within the time frame prescribed. The reason for this, the Court stated, was to “make a little more money”.
The Court has, however, said in unequivocal terms that the right of citizens to clean air would take precedence over the wishes of automobile manufacturers to make more money. The judgment states,
“There can be no compromise with the health of the citizens and if one has to choose between health and wealth, keeping in view the expanded scope of Article 21 of the Constitution, health of the teeming millions of this country will have to take precedence over the greed of a few automobile manufacturers. The automobile manufacturers must behave responsibly. We expected that keeping in view our earlier order, they would have themselves volunteered to be BSVI compliant by 31.03.2020.”
Stressing on the importance of clean and smoke free air and right to clean environment falling within the ambit of Right to Life under Article 21, the Court made it clear that in a conflict between “health and wealth, health will have to be given precedence”.
Therefore, the Court stated that no vehicle that conforms with BS IV norms shall be sold or registered from April 1, 2020 onwards.