The Supreme Court said no Bharat Stage-IV vehicles sold after March 31 should be registered and asked the government to verify whether dealers had overstepped a concession given to them due to the lockdown.
India switched to BS-VI emission standards on April 1 from BS-IV. While the top court had earlier rejected the demand of automobile dealers to extend the deadline to clear their existing inventories of BS-IV vehicles, it allowed them to sell up to 10 percent of such inventory in a short window after the lockdown restrictions were eased.
“You have sold more than allowed,” a bench led by Justice Arun Mishra said on Wednesday, adding: “Do not take advantage of this court by playing fraud.”
The Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) had earlier claimed in the court that the sector was stuck with ₹7,000 crores of unsold BS-IV vehicles. While allowing the short window to sell such vehicles in a March 27 order, the court noted that the sector had lost out a few days of sales due to the sudden clamping of the lockdown on March 25.
As of March 31, registration of more than 225,000 such vehicles was pending with state transport authorities, as per documents submitted in the court. The federation claimed that these were sold prior to March 31.
The court though demanded to know whether the companies had been selling BS-IV vehicles during the lockdown and through online sales.
“How were vehicles sold online at 30-40 percent off? That too after March 31? What is this fraud? How have you sold during the lockdown,” Justice Mishra asked.