HC declines to stay plastic ban in Maharashtra

HC declines to stay plastic ban in Maharashtra

The Bombay High Court on Thursday declined to stay the implementation of the Maharashtra government's decision to ban plastic materials but protected citizens from prosecution for their possession for a period of three months.

The court, while giving an interim ruling on a bunch of petitions opposing the ban, maintained it cannot overlook the adverse impact of plastic waste on the environment.

On March 23 this year, the government issued a notification, imposing a ban on the manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of all plastic materials like one-time use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and also thermocol items.

The notification gave a period of three months to the manufacturers, distributors and retailers to dispose of the existing stock of the banned items. Consumers and users were, however, given only a period of one month to dispose of the same.

The notification was challenged in the HC by plastic, PET bottle and thermocol manufacturers and retailer associations on the ground that the ban was arbitrary, bad in law and violates their fundamental right to livelihood.

Petitions challenging the notification had sought an interim stay on the implementation of the ban pending hearing of their pleas.

A division bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Riyaz Chagla on Friday refused to stay the notification after observing the court cannot ignore the adverse effects of plastic waste on the environment.

"We are aware that the petitioners and all those persons involved in the business of plastic materials may suffer loss due to the ban.

"However, we have to consider the impact of plastic waste on the environment and the eco-system in general and the effect thereof on citizens. The harmful effects of plastic waste are multi-fold," the court said.

The bench added that it does not feel that the imposition of such restrictions infringes upon the fundamental rights of the petitioners.

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