High Court upholds govtís ban on plastic bags


In a clear prioritization of public interest over commercial interest, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday ratified the city government's move to ban the use of plastic bags in specified areas of the Capital. The High Court turned down a petition put in by the All India Plastic Manufacturers Association appealing against the High Court's August 2008 order banning plastic bags.

The debate on whether plastic bags should be banned or not took a fresh twist last week with Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh saying in the Parliament that plastic bags should not be banned and instead solid waste should be managed properly. Following Ramesh's comment, the Delhi government had issued its first challans for plastic bag violators last week.

"Merely because some commercial interests of the petitioners are diluted does not mean that there is no public interest in issuing the impugned notification. We find no good reason to strike down the impugned notification," a division Bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said while dismissing the petition by the plastic bag manufacturers.

The bench found no favour with the traders' plea alleging that their business has come to a standstill after the ban and held that the limitations are undeniably in public interest.

"It is clear that the limitation on the sale, use and storage of plastic bags in certain areas in Delhi has been laid down keeping in view the problem of solid waste management, particularly of plastic bags, which choke drains and enter the food chain thereby potentially causing health risks," observed the court.

In pursuant to the Delhi High Court's August 7, 2008 order, the NCT government had, on January 7, issued a notification banning the use of plastic bags in shopping malls, five star hotels, restaurants, dairies, and fruits and vegetable outlets under the Environment Protection Act.

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