Challenging the ministry of environment and forests’ (MoEF) ban on plastic pouches for pan masala, gutkha and tobacco, a pan masala manufacturer has moved the Bombay high court.
On February 4, the MoEF introduced the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, to act on environmental damage caused by polythene bags and multi-layered packaging products; Rule 5(d) bans the use of plastic pouches for packaging pan masala, gutkha and tobacco.
Godfrey Phillips India Ltd, which manufactures pan masala at its Baramati unit in Pune, has challenged the validity of the Rule 5(d), contending that while the prohibition has been imposed on these three products, plastic pouches are allowed for several others, subject to certain conditions, and said that these three products have been targeted. “There is no need for these three products to have been singled out,” the company’s petition stated, adding: “The rule does not mention any other food products or consumer goods like tomato sauce, shampoos, detergents, sweets, confectionery items, which are packed in plastic sachets.”
The company has further contended that the rule is a clear example of arbitrarily picking and choosing one particular class of product for discrimination, and that the ban imposed was inherently contradictory.
The petition also said that the company would have to shut down its manufacturing business, employing more than 200 persons, because of the ban.
A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice RP Sondurbaldota has posted the matter on September 9.