The lawyers had previously argued that the sections 4(1) and (2) of the Maharashtra Non Biodegradable Garbage Control Act was ultra vires (beyond one’s legal power or authority) to the provision of the Food Safety & Standard Act 2006, the Bureau of Indian Standard Act and Environmental Protection Act which are Central Acts governing the law regarding the environment and packaging.
On March 23, the government had issued the Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products (Manufacture, Usage, Sale, Transport, Handling and Storage) notification banning manufacture, use, storage, distribution, wholesale or retail sale, import and transportation of all kinds of plastic bags (with or without handle), and single-use disposable items made of plastic. In April, the High Court refused to stay the state government’s decision to ban plastic items. The court, prima facie had held that the prospects of the government’s notification on the plastic ban are “reasonable”.
The court also passed an order preventing the prosecution of consumers for three months. Granting interim relief to the manufacturers of plastic items, the court asked them to make a representation before the state government within a week.
Precautions in place, says the minister
Maharashtra environment minister Ramdas Kadam on 23 June said adequate precautions are in place to ensure that common people and small traders are not harassed. He said strict action would be taken against plastic manufacturers if they are found violating the ban.
He added that an extensive awareness campaign would be carried out over the next eight days to make people aware of the banned items.
“Almost 80% of plastic required (in the state) is produced in Gujarat and it is being brought into Maharashtra illegally. Henceforth, if any plastic is brought into Maharashtra from any state, strict action would be taken,” the minister said, adding that around 1,200 tonnes of plastic is generated in Maharashtra that damages the environment. (Courtesy The Indian Express)