Friday, May 11, 2012

SC rejects plea for gutka and panmasala export in plastic pouches

A year after banning use of plastic sachets for retail sale of gutka and pan masala, the Supreme Court has rejected the industry's plea for permission to use plastic containers for export of tobacco products.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya rejected an application filed by Baba Global Ltd seeking to use plastic pouches for exporting pan masala and other similar preparations. The manufacturer had pleaded that paper packaged gutka and pan masala was not conducive for exports.

The bench had asked the manufacturer to submit samples of their product for testing by ministry of environment. Additional solicitor general Mohan Prasaran informed the bench that the manufacturer had not provided the samples of their product in paper pouches and instead submitted them for testing packed in plastic jars.

Director in the ministry of environment and forest, Manoranjan Hota, had in the affidavit said: "Therefore it was not possible to conduct a test for the purpose of finding out whether the paper packaging will not be conducive for the purpose of export of pan masala."

A bench headed by Justice Singhvi had on May 11 last year directed the manufacturers of gutka, pan masala and raw tobacco not to use pastic material in any form of packaging for retail sale of their products.

Pursuant to the judgment, the government amended the Palstic Waste (management and Handling) Rules, 2011 and inserted Rule 5(g) stating that "plastic material, in any form, shall not be used in any package for packing gutka, pan masala and tobacco of all forms".

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