Govt has declared that COVID-19 should be considered a case of natural calamity and force majeure be invoked


NEW DELHI: Hero MotoCorp Ltd has approached the Supreme Court seeking a three-month extension of the 31 March deadline for winding up sales of BS-IV emission norm-compliant vehicles following the COVID-19 outbreak which has hit retail sales, the company said in a regulatory filing.

India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer has more than a two-week inventory of such vehicles, across dealerships, which cannot be sold after 1 April, according to a court mandate.

The country will embrace BS-VI emission regime from April 1, 2020.

“The company has filed an interlocutory application today before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India seeking relaxation of the deadline set for sale or registration of BS-IV vehicles i.e. 31.03.2020,” it said in a filing to the stock exchanges.

“In view of the completely unforeseen developments that have arisen out of the prevailing force majeure situation on account of COVID-19, we have prayed for an extension of time for a period of three months, as this has hampered all aspects of our industry. The Ministry of Finance has also declared that COVID-19 should be considered a case of natural calamity and force majeure be invoked,” the company added.

In the last one week, since the Union and state governments have started asking people to ensure social distancing to control the spread of the infection, footfalls at automobile dealerships have halved, hitting retail sales.

The Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (Fada) has also approached the apex court for relaxation of the deadline to switch to BS-VI emission nor-compliant vehicles.

“Owing to situations which are beyond our control and the fact that many of our members may face dealership closures if left with unsold BS-IV stocks, FADA has once again approached the apex body with a request for permission of sale and registration of BS-IV vehicles till 31 May’20,” Ashish Harsharaj Kale, president, Fada, had said in a statement.