THE Supreme Court has stayed a Rajasthan high court order that
restrained all the manufacturers of gutka, tobacco and pan masala from
selling their products in plastic sachets in the state. A bench
comprising Justice BN Agrawal and Justice PP Naolekar, in its interim
order, stayed the high court order on the plea of three gutka
manufacturers that it encroached upon their fundamental rights to carry
on trade and business. The apex court passed the order on the petitions
of three gutka manufacturers –– Jayanti Gutka, Ankur Gutka and Laxmi
Senior Counsels Harish Salve and Mukul Rohtagi, on behalf of the companies, said that their products constitute only 5% of the total plastic which is also being used for packaging of eatables. They said that the basic ingredient of pouch is polypropylene and very small content is made out of plastic which is required for the purpose of safeguarding the products from getting spoiled due to humidity and external factors.
On August 28 the high court had banned the sale of such items and directed the chief secretary of the state to get the sachets of the cos examined to verify the presence of plastic in them. If the report discloses that the sachets contain plastic material, the manufacturers were to pay fine on the basis of their turnover in accordance with the principles of ‘polluters must pay’.
The high court had noted that sachets of gutkas and pan masalas were causing environmental degradation.
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