Tobacco firms before SC: Lift ban on plastic sachets
Tobacco, paan masala and gutka selling companies on Thursday pleaded with the Supreme Court to lift the ban on the use of plastic or polythene in packing their products contending that no other product, including cigarette, was facing such a restriction.
Even essential items such as milk and bread were sold in polythene packs while only their products were forced to be sold in paper packs, senior counsel CS Vaidyanathan argued before a Bench comprising Justices Gopala Gowda and AK Goel.
The government had indirectly banned their products in the guise of restricting the use of plastics which was illegal. Even the cigarette industry was exempted from the plastic ban which showed its clout, he pleaded.
The government could not have imposed the ban in 2011 without applying its mind, merely on the basis of an apex court’s interim order suggesting such a step, the gutka industry argued.
Citing research reports, the industry pleaded that polythene per se was not bad for health or environment. Civic authorities should find ways to collect and dispose of plastic waste to avoid such bans. The sector was prepared to accept any quality standard set for plastic packaging material.
Plastic packets increased the shelf life of products, besides facilitating easy transport and storage, while the use of paper affected the environment as trees would have to be cut for making paper, it was pleaded.