SC bans sale, registration of BS-III vehicles

The Supreme Court has banned the sale and registration of Bharat Stage (BS)-III emission norm-compliant vehicles from April 1, 2017, when environmentally friendly BS-IV emission norms will come into force across the country.
The order came after all vehicle manufacturers including their association -Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) approached SC to stop the ban till existing stock is sold.

SC Order
  • The SC bench held that health of the citizen is more important than the commercial interests of the automobile industry.
  • All the vehicle registering authorities under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 are prohibited from registering such vehicles on and from April 1, 2017 that do not meet BS-IV emission standards.
  • Vehicles that have already been sold on or before March 31, 2017 will be not included in this ban. From 1 April 2017, BS-IV fuel emission standards will kick in and all new vehicles have to comply it. 
What are manufacturers saying?

Vehicle manufacturers have argued that they were entitled to make BS-III vehicles till March 31, 2017. So, the sale and registration of these vehicles should not be prohibited after April 1, 2017 with the introduction of BS-IV norms. They should further be given a reasonable time to dispose of their existing stock which is as about 820,000 vehicles (worth Rs 12,000-crore) most of them two-wheelers. Government also has favoured the prospect of selling the existent stock of BS-III vehicles, as it done twice before when fuel emission norms were upgraded to BS-II and BS-III, respectively.


Many vehicles including heavy commercial vehicles with BS-III built engines, employ a mechanical fuel pump and used fuel less efficiently. It negatively influences environment by subsequent emissions of nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter.

How BS-IV engines cut emissions?
  • Passenger vehicles compliant with Bharat Stage-III emission norms vary widely from their Bharat Stage-IV compliant engines, depending on the size of the car and whether they are petrol or diesel versions.
  • BS-IV compliant engines differ in the electronics, sensor system, and its ability to process low-sulphur fuel and their “after-exhaust” system that determines emissions.
  • BS-IV engines also require that the sulphur content of the fuel they use be less than 50 part per million (ppm) whereas BS-III ones can run on 350 ppm fuel.
  • The transition from BS-III to BS-IV will lead to substantial reductions in particulate matter emissions. For instance, from new trucks, the emissions dip by 80% and from cars by 50%.
  • Similarly, hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions can also drop between 41 and 80%, depending on the engine sizes.

Note: India also has set a deadline of 2020 to switch to BS-VI norms, by skipping stage V. This huge leap towards cleaner and environment friendly fuel, will include technology upgrade, making vehicles costly.



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