The Supreme Court on Friday declined to interfere with the National Green Tribunal's (NGT) order that had kept in abeyance its interim direction to publish a warning on the Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) pipes containing lead, that it has a hazardous effect on human health.
A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra observed that it was an "interim order" which was challenged and granted liberty to petitioner-advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay to approach the NGT and raise his grievance before the tribunal.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Upadhyay, questioned the NGT's May 2 order and said it was noted in earlier orders of the tribunal that lead was not being used globally due to its harmful effect on health.
"Lead cannot be used and its phasing out is 100% confirmed," Singh told the bench.
The bench, while disposing of the plea, said after the petitioner approaches it with his grievance, the NGT may consider passing appropriate orders after giving an opportunity to all the parties.
During the hearing, the petitioner also referred to the earlier orders passed by the NGT in the matter.
On a plea by NGO Jan Sahyog Manch, the NGT had on May 25 last year directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to lay down standards for using lead in PVC pipes within four months, in consultation with the Bureau of Indian Standards, after it was apprised that the water passing through such pipes which were commonly used in most buildings might contain toxic materials like lead.
On May 2, some plastic manufacturing units moved the tribunal saying the earlier order was passed without hearing them, following which the NGT kept its order in abeyance and sought a report from the MoEF.