Kerala HC Sets Aside Ban On Non-Woven Plastic Carry Bags Of 60 GSM & Above
The Kerala High Court has set aside the Order banning manufacture, transportation, sale and use of non-woven bags of 60 gram per square metre (GSM) and above.
The bench of Justice N. Nagaresh observed that the inclusion of non-woven bags in the list of banned single-use plastic items without regard to the GSM standards and in violation of the provisions of the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 is highly illegal and arbitrary.
The Court also noted that many State Government including Odisha, Puducherry, Haryana, Delhi, etc. have issued orders banning single-use plastic but such ban does not extend to non-woven bags of 60 GSM and above.
“It may be noted that many State Government including Odisha, Puducherry, Haryana, Delhi, etc. have issued orders banning single use plastic but such ban does not extend to non-woven bags of 60 GSM and above. Therefore, the total prohibition of manufacturing of non-woven bags irrespective of the GSM standard of the bags in Kerala, would be discriminatory also.”, the Court observed.
The Court was dealing with plea challenging the ban on non-woven bags without regard to the parameter of GSM, brought into effect by the State of Kerala and the Kerala State Pollution Control Board.
According to the petitioners, non-woven bags are manufactured using food grade granules. The petitioners are manufacturing non-woven bags out of Polypropylene and Calcium Carbonate. Polypropylene is a food grade granule and Calcium Carbonate is a natural product and 100% biodegradable under natural process.
The petitioners submitted that the complete ban on the manufacture of non-woven bags by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board is illegal and unsustainable.
Advocates T.K.Rajeshkumar and Manoj V George appeared for petitioners whereas S. Manu, DSGI appeared for Union of India and Standing Counsel T.Naveen appeared for Kerala State Pollution Control Board.
The Court noted that “Circular dated 24.06.2022 issued by the Chairman of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board does not specify any reason for imposing a more stringent standard in the matter of non-woven bags. The Kerala State Pollution Control Board has issued the Circular dated 24.06.2022 solely based on GOs dated 17.12.2019 and 27.01.2020. In the absence of sufficient reasons to prescribe a more stringent standard for non-woven bags, the Circular dated 24.06.2022 cannot stand the scrutiny of law.”
Thus the Court set aside the Government Orders and Circular of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board banning manufacture, transportation, sale and use of non-woven bags of 60 GSM and above.
Cause Title- Nibu Kasim & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.
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