Bombay high court refuses to stay plastic ban, grants two more months to citizens to dispose of items
The March 23 notification issued by the Maharashtra environment department gave consumers one month to dispose of the banned items in their possessionmumbai Updated: Apr 13, 2018 23:38 IST
Refusing to interfere with the ban on manufacturing and sale of plastic and thermacol items in Maharashtra, the Bombay high court (HC) on Friday directed the state not to take any action against citizens found possessing the banned items for two months (till June 23).
The March 23 notification issued by the Maharashtra environment department gave consumers one month to dispose of the banned items in their possession. The state, however, later issued a revised notification giving users two months (till June 23) to dispose of the items.
A person found in possession of the banned items will be liable to be prosecuted under section 9 of the Maharashtra Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 2006, which provides for a fine of upto Rs5,000 for the first offence, upto Rs10,000 for the second offence and upto three months in jail and Rs25,000 fine for every subsequent offence.
“We hope and trust the state authorities will ensure no individual will be made to face prosecution under section 9 if found in possession of banned items during this period,” said a division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice Riyaz Chagla.
“At least prima facie, we find that more than sufficient material was available with the state government warranting exercise of powers under section 4 of the 2006 Act,” said the bench, refusing to stay implementation of the notification sought by associations of plastic and thermocol manufacturers through a number of writ petitions.
The bench noted the state has taken into consideration the impact of plastic waste on environment and the ecosystem and the harmful effect on citizens. The bench noted that 1,200 metric tonnes of plastic waste is being generated across Maharashtra every day and no scientific mechanism is available to properly dispose of the waste.
It said the state has not imposed a complete ban on all plastic and thermocol items, but only on some items such as plastic bags and disposables because these articles mostly end up being disposed of in public drains. The bench said at least prima facie the action appears to be in complete tune with the object sought to be achieved by the 2006 enactment – to prevent throwing of non-biodegradable garbage in public drains, wetlands, wastelands and other water bodies.
It has, however, granted liberty to the petitioner associations to submit a representation to the state and the government has been directed to consider and pass appropriate orders. The petitions are now posted for further hearing on June 8.