BS-IV norms must for registering new buses and trucks: Kerala HC

BS-IV norms must for registering new buses and trucks: Kerala HC

Registration of new buses and trucks can be allowed only if they meet Bharat Stage Four (BS-IV) norms as the amendment to law also includes these categories of vehicles, the Kerala high court has held.

The ruling was issued by a single bench of the court after considering a total of 10 petitions filed by vehicle manufacturers and dealers challenging a circular issued by the state transport commissioner in April 2016 stating that BS-IV norms are applicable not only to vehicles with four wheels but those with more than four wheels too. The petitions were filed soon after the issuance of the circular and the judgment was delivered by the court on December 8th.

It was contended by the petitioners that the amendment to Central Motor Vehicle Rules (Sub Rule 15a of Rule 115), by which BS-IV norms is being implemented in a phased manner, applies only to four-wheeled vehicles and not to vehicles having more than four wheels. The petitioners stressed on the words ‘four wheeled vehicles’ used in the provision to argue that the norms do not apply to vehicles having more than four wheels.

While disagreeing with this contention, the court pointed out that the rules categorize vehicles only as two wheelers, three wheelers, and four wheelers, and not as vehicles having more than four wheels. A common expression ‘four wheeled vehicles’ is used in all the provisions in the CMV Rules, the court said.

Further, when BS-IV standards have been implemented throughout the country even for two-wheeled and three-wheeled vehicles manufactured after April 1st last year, there is no reason at all to exempt vehicles with more than four wheels, the judgment said.

When the words ‘four wheeled vehicles’ is considered in view of the settled legal principle that the words of a statute must be understood in the sense in which the legislature has in view, even vehicles with more than four wheels are included in the category, the court said. Meaning of words in a statute must not be found so much in a strictly grammatical or etymological propriety of language as per a 1977 ruling of the Supreme Court (Union of India v. Sankalchand Himatlal Sheth), the high court said. Dismissing the petitions, the court held that BS-IV norms is applicable to all passenger and goods vehicles that have four wheels and more.

BS-IV norms, which compares to Euro 4 regulations globally, was first introduced in the National Capital Region and a few cities and later extended to the entire country in four phases. It stipulates lower levels of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are the most harmful pollutants in exhaust gases. While the permissible level of carbon monoxide, which is poisonous to the respiratory system, for diesel vehicles was 0.64g/km in Euro 3, it is 0.50g/km in Euro 4. In the case of hydrocarbons, which causes cancer, the level was 0.56g/km in Euro 3, compared to 0.30g/km in Euro 4. Similarly, threshold for nitrogen oxides, which can irritate mucous membranes and even cause lung damage, was set at 0.50g/km in Euro 3. Maximum permissible limit of nitrogen oxides is fixed at 0.25g/km in Euro 4. In September last year, central government had announced that it would bypass BS-V and introduce BS-VI norms, equivalent to Euro 6 regulations, by April 2020. Euro 6 mandates 67 per cent reduction in nitrogen oxides compared to Euro 5 (0.18g/km).

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