The Bombay High Court Friday said that it will decide a date for hearing the final arguments on a petition filed by the Maharashtra Plastic Manufacturers on July 20.
Senior lawyers Milind Sathe, Janak Dwarkadas and Anil Anturkar, appearing for the petitioners, 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.
Sathe, during the hearing, argued that section 4 (1) and (2) empowers the state to enforce norms prescribed only by rules and there are already Central rules like Plastic Waste Management Rules of 2006 in place. Dwarkadas contested that the ban was taking away “the livelihood of the people.” The PET Container Manufacturers Association and the All India Plastic Manufacturers Association had challenged the recently imposed plastic ban.
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 plastic ban is “reasonable”.
The court also passed an order preventing the prosecution of consumers for three months. Granting interim relief to the manufactures of plastic items, the court asked them to make a representation before the state government within a week.
On June 8, two affidavits were filed by Sanjay Sandanshiv, Secretary of Environment department, Maharashtra, which said that the Environment department had issued a letter on April 4 to all Divisional Commissioners, the Municipal Commissioner, Maharashtra Pollution Control, Directorate Municipal Administration, District Collectors, all Chief Executive Offices of Zilla Parishad, Chief Officer and Municipal Councils to inform them of the direction passed by the Bombay High Court on April 13 and to comply with the order.
The affidavit said, “The government has formed a task force comprising different plastic manufacturing associations, experts from different institutions and government officials concerned to find out solutions and prepare an action plan for plastic waste management to end the life cycle of plastic.”