Any one found with a water bottle that doesn’t have a buyback label will be penalised, government told the court on Thursday. The notification regarding the plastic ban was modified after the government heard the manufactures, who had challenged the ban in four different petitions, state government counsel EP Barucha told Bombay High Court. The court was hearing four petitions filed by Maharashtra Plastic Manufacturers Association, PET Container Manufacturers Association, All India Plastic Manufacturers Association and Thermacol Fabricator and Decoration Association.
The state environment department on Wednesday reversed the ban plastic bottles of less than 0.5 litres and extended the deadline from one month to three for disposal of existing banned items for consumers, retailers, traders and manufacturers.
During the hearing, Justice AS Oka and Justice RI Chagla, asked Barucha, “If today a person is roaming with a bottle will he be penalised?” To which, Barucha replied in the affirmative. Barucha further said if the bottle does not have the required buyback label and does not meet the standard, which can be recycled as per the notification, then they will be penalised.
Barucha further said, “The state has to start somewhere. If the manufacturers are stopped then the users will stop.” The court asked, “How do users know about all this?” The court further asked if the manufacturers have been given three months to dispose off their existing stock then is the same done for the public as well. Senior lawyer Milind Sathe told court that the plastic ban is a violation of Article 19 (1)(g) (to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business) of Constitution of India, also plastic is more environment-friendly than metal or glass.
The court then said they will pass two different orders. First, on the protesters in the premises of the court and later on the interim orders in the petitions challenging the ban. The court further said, that they learnt that there were people wearing black bands and black clothes, protesting against the ban on the court premises and by this “they show that they have no faith” in the judiciary. If they have no faith in the judiciary, they should not come before the court. The court said the lawyers appearing for the case and others found it difficult to come inside the courtroom. “It was their (petitioner and lawyers) responsibility towards client that such large crowd aren’t allowed to create inconvenience to members of the bar and litigants.”
The court said that they learnt through their staff and newspapers that the protester were wearing bands and black clothes, “A court of law is not a place to protest.” “If somebody is under the impression by collecting a mob they can pressurise the court, they are wrong,” the court said. The court also said they want to invite the attention of the Bar Association on the issue.