Confusion Abounds Post Supreme Court Order

Dear friends,


The Hon’ble Supreme Court’s order banning sale of BS III vehicles w.e.f. 1st April 2017 has come as the bolt from the blue for the automobile dealer fraternity across the country. The letter and spirit of the notifications issued by the Government is that the appointed date of 1st April 2017 is for the manufacture. In other words, the understanding was that all vehicles manufactured on or after 1st April 2017 shall be BS IV compliant and that the BS III vehicles manufactured up to 31st March 2017 would be allowed to be sold post 31st March 2017 in keeping with the practice followed in the past when the country migrated to BS II and BS III emission standards.


The sudden departure from the past practice put paid to all the expectations within the automotive industry and retail trade, resulting in humongous loss to the industry and my fellow dealers.


The apex court’s order is giving rise to various problems in that the different states are interpreting the order differently. Besides, a number of automobile dealers from various States have reported technical problems in registration of vehicles online on 30th & 31st March 2017 due to the Transport Departments’ servers slowing down and the systems collapsing, arising from the huge rush for registration. As a result, the data of vehicles sold on 30th & 31st March could not be transmitted to those RTOs online on the same day in such cases.


There is a peculiar problem in Delhi and, perhaps also at other places, where quite a few dealers are not online. These dealers take vehicles and the necessary documents to their respective RTOs for registration of vehicles sold by them. The fees and taxes are paid at the time of submission of registration documents. There is no provision or system whereby they can remit the payments to the RTOs online on the same day. These dealers are left high and dry, as the Transport Department in Delhi is not registering these vehicles on the basis of a circular issued by EPCA. Hopefully, the problem will be resolved soon.


It may be mentioned here that there is no system of temporary registration for private vehicles in Delhi. Even in the case of commercial vehicles, there is no requirement of temporary registration, if the vehicle is registered within 30 days of sale, except in cases where the chassis is sent outside Delhi for body building.


FADA, as a body of automobile dealers, has written to the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways for an early clarification to obviate the confusion prevailing currently. While EPCA is playing a significant role in improving environment and road safety,  the alacrity and the overzealousness displayed by it is giving rise to a lot of confusion and disruption in the market.


We hope, the Central Government or, for that matter, EPCA will issue the clarifications at the earliest so that the vehicles sold by 31st March can be registered without further delay.


Adverting to the auto market, while the sales numbers for March 2017 sound good, the auto market that was recovering gradually after the shock of demonetisation, may be relapsing into the phase of uncertainty, owing to the blow inflicted by the Supreme Court order. However, I am sanguine that the auto market will take this disruption in its stride and march forward on a growth path, as it has done in the past.


Regarding the activities of FADA, by the time this issue of FADA Journal reaches you, we would have concluded the Council Meeting, Regional Meeting and Awards presentation ceremony scheduled for 22nd April 2017 at Jaipur.


We are eagerly looking forward to the event, as two important sessions, namely, (i) Interaction with the Transport Minister, Government of Rajasthan and (ii) Presentation on GST are integral part of the programme. We shall also have a session by the senior officials of Facebook India on the role of social media in the current and emerging automobile business environment.


With best wishes,


Yours sincerely,


John K Paul

 

 

 

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