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NGT notice to Chandigarh administration on plastic ban

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A traders' body has moved the National Green Tribunal against its order banning use of bags, plates and glasses made of plastic and allied material in Chandigarh prompting the green panel to seek response from the Union Territory.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar yesterday issued notice to the Chandigarh Administration and its municipal corporation while seeking its reply by January 14 on the plea of Confederation of All India Traders, Chandigarh unit.

In its plea, filed through advocate Shilpi Jain, the traders' body has sought modification of December 4, 2015, order which prohibited use of bags, plates or glasses and such allied items made of plastic material in Chandigarh and declared a fine of Rs 5,000 on anyone found using or dealing with such material.

It has claimed that since there is no ban on the manufacture of the plastic products so prohibition on possession and selling of the said products is "discriminatory, unfair and harsh".

Further, as per the notification issued by Chandigarh administration in 2008, the ban is restricted only to polythene or plastic bags and expanding its scope would infringe upon the constitutional right of traders, it added.

"The December 4, 2015 order is against the principles of natural justice as well as penal liability has been sought to be imposed more so with retrospective effect. It is well- settled law that any law, order or direction imposing penal liability, as in the present case, cannot be given with retrospective effect.

"The possession of the goods, which was prior to the order, cannot even remotely be termed illegal and thus, the question of imposing penal liability is extremely harsh and unfair," the plea said, adding, "Various traders were not given time to dispose of the existing stock already lying with them."

The plea contended that traders have been put to extreme "hardship" as their outlets have been subjected to raids soon after the issuance of the order.

The tribunal in its December 4 order, had said, "We direct that the administration shall ensure that there is no use of plastic bags, plastic plates or plastic glasses and such allied items in the entire state of Chandigarh.

"Any person, who is found to be storing, purchasing, dealing or distributing such plastic items, shall be liable to pay environmental compensation at the rate of Rs 5,000 per event," the tribunal had said.

First Published: Fri, January 08 2016. 16:22 IST