Allow plastic bag making for sale outside Delhi, court urged
Plastic bag manufacturers of the city Thursday urged the Delhi High Court to allow them to make the product for sale in areas outside Delhi where it was not banned.
Arguing before a division bench of Chief Justice D. Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, the manufacturers said the city government had imposed a blanket ban on use and manufacture of plastic bag but they should be allowed to make and sell their product outside the state.
The All India Plastic Industries Association moved the high court challenging the Delhi government notification of Oct 23 that imposed a blanket ban on plastic bags from Nov 23, under which no person could manufacture, import, store, sell or transport any kind of plastic bag in the city.
Appearing for manufacturers, senior advocate Arvind Nigam told the high court that the ban would not end the environmental problems completely as packaged food products were still available in plastic covers.
The problem did not lie with manufacture but with the civic agencies' failure to recycle the trashed plastic bags.
"The municipal authorities are not discharging their duty. If they would have been doing their duty, the ban would not have been enforced," said Nigam, adding that "we are ready to do the job of civic agencies to recycle the plastic bags of less than 40 microns".
Nigam argued that even the plastic packs for food items caused environmental problem and heath hazard but the government did not ban them.
"If government did not ban the plastic used for packing food products like milk, flour bags etc., why it banned plastic carry bags?" asked Nigam.
The ban enforced by the government would not affect the use of plastic specified under the Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998.
Plastic covers used for packing food products such as milk, cooking oil and flour and plastic cups such as those used by tea vendors were not banned, the petition said.
Nigam said that the state government exceeded its jurisdiction while issuing the notification on plastic bag ban as only the central government was empowered to do so.
The plea said that the issue of the Delhi government's jurisdiction was pending before the Supreme Court.
"The Delhi government in a fanatic pursuit to endorse its predetermined agenda of completely closing down the plastic bags industry in arbitrary and unreasonable manner, brushed aside the objections of the petitioners," said the plea.
The plastic manufacturers said in their plea: "Declare impugned notification dated Oct 23 null and void, ultra vires the Environment Protection Act, 1968, and rules framed thereunder. The notification also violates the fundamental rights of the petitioner."
"The notification, banning the manufacturing of plastic bags would jeopardise livelihoods of lakhs of people," the petition said.
The court would next hear the matter Dec 6.