The Supreme Court on Friday allowed automobile dealers – barring those in Delhi – to sell Bharat Stage-IV vehicles for 10 days after the coronavirus lockdown ends on April 14, PTI reported. The top court had earlier said that all such vehicles should be sold by March 31, as the newer fuel standard, Bharat Stage-VI, is set to come into force the following day.

In 2018, the top court had ruled that no Bharat Stage-IV vehicle would be sold in the country from April 1, 2020.

The top court’s decision on Friday came on a petition filed by the Federation of Automobile Dealers’ Association, seeking an extension of the deadline for sale of their inventory of BS-IV vehicles amid the coronavirus scare and economic slowdown. The automobile body’s lawyer told the court that 1.7 lakh cars and 14,000 commercial vehicles worth Rs 7,000 crore are yet to be sold and sought time till May 31.

A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said that dealers will be allowed to sell only 10% of the unsold inventory of BS-IV vehicles during this 10-day period after the lockdown. The sale of vehicles, however, will not be allowed in Delhi. The top court also said that BS-IV vehicles that have been sold but not registered due to the lockdown can be registered after the restrictions are lifted.

The bench said it cannot keep extending time for the sale of BS-IV vehicles and that dealers should be ready to sacrifice for the country’s environment.

Bharat Stage emission standards regulate the output of air pollutants from vehicle engines. The higher the Bharat Stage category, the less polluting the vehicle. The country has followed the Bharat Stage-IV norms since April 2017, and is scheduled to switch to Bharat Stage-VI in April 2020.