w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Chennai Non Woven's Private Limited represented by its Authorised Secretary T. Sreenivasan, Ambattur Industrial Estate Chennai v/s State of Tamil Nadu represented by its Secretary to Government Environment and Forest (EC2) Department Fort St. George, Chennai & Others


Company & Directors' Information:- A L W ESTATE PRIVATE LTD [Active] CIN = U70101WB1993PTC057397

Company & Directors' Information:- A R K ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45400DL2008PTC173098

Company & Directors' Information:- S L H ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45201DL2005PTC140123

Company & Directors' Information:- B P INDUSTRIAL CORPN. PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U15312UP1973PTC087037

Company & Directors' Information:- S K G ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45201DL2005PTC140647

Company & Directors' Information:- A V N ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45201DL2005PTC134084

Company & Directors' Information:- R S A ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1994PTC059983

Company & Directors' Information:- M S ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U45202MH1998PTC117103

Company & Directors' Information:- M G K ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1988PTC033870

Company & Directors' Information:- THE INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15420MH1921PTC000947

Company & Directors' Information:- T C G ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U70100MH2004PTC148218

Company & Directors' Information:- V M ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U70101DL1996PTC079469

Company & Directors' Information:- B M P ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U45200DL2006PTC156493

Company & Directors' Information:- O P G ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U70101DL2008PTC180602

Company & Directors' Information:- K N F ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45202PN2006PTC129684

Company & Directors' Information:- A V GEORGE AND CO PRIVATE LTD [Active] CIN = U51109KL1937PTC000027

Company & Directors' Information:- G K S ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U70102TN2007PTC063818

Company & Directors' Information:- J R ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U45201DL1994PTC058595

Company & Directors' Information:- G P ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U45201GJ1987PTC009746

Company & Directors' Information:- P. C. ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U45203MH2003PTC141842

Company & Directors' Information:- A K INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U29130PN2014PTC151053

Company & Directors' Information:- A N B R ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U70200TN2013PTC090416

Company & Directors' Information:- G. S. P ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U70102MH2007PTC220021

Company & Directors' Information:- S B ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45200MH2003PTC142450

Company & Directors' Information:- N. K. N. ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45400WB2011PTC171474

Company & Directors' Information:- N K FOREST PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74900DL2010PTC203239

Company & Directors' Information:- K L G ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U70101DL2005PTC141271

Company & Directors' Information:- G L P ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U70101DL2006PTC148523

Company & Directors' Information:- C L C ESTATE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U70109HR2009PTC039162

Company & Directors' Information:- A V GEORGE AND CO INDIA PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U74999KL1946PTC001390

Company & Directors' Information:- J S D FOREST LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U01122HP1997PLC020307

Company & Directors' Information:- THE INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U00804KA1948PLC000529

    Writ Petition Nos. 33453, 33461, 33463, 33738, 33770, 33897 & 34243 of 2018, 828, 857, 1821, 1823, 1824, 1827, 1829, 1831, 1834, 2198, 2205, 2209, 2215, 3337, 3551, 3553, 3554, 3556, 3557, 3558, 3559, 3560, 3561, 3562, 3564, 3568, 3984, 4487, 13040 & 4492 of 2019

    Decided On, 11 July 2019

    At, High Court of Judicature at Madras

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE R. SUBBIAH & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE KRISHNAN RAMASAMY

    For the Petitioner: T.P. Manoharan, Senior Advocate, Selvi George, P.S. Raman, Senior Advocate, Selvi George M. Ajmal Khan, Senior Advocate, E. Mohammed Abbas, P. Wilson, Senior Advocate, G. Sankaran, Kundan Kumar Mishra, L.G. Sahadevan, A. Thiyagarajan, K.H. Ravi Kumar, M. Radhakrishnan, N. Damodaran, Advocates. For the Respondents: G. Rajagopalan, Additional Solicitor General assisted by Venkataswamy Babu, Special Government Pleader for Central Govt., P.H. Aravindh Pandian, Additional Advocate General assisted by S.V. Vijay Prashanth, Additional Government Pleader (Forest), R4, N. Rajan, Advocates, T.L. Thirumalaiswamy, Central Government Standing Counsel.



Judgment Text

(Petition filed under Article 226 of The Constitution of India praying to issue a Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus to call for the records on the file of the first respondent made in G.O. Ms. No.84, Environment and Forest (EC.2) Department dated 25.06.2018 and the Letter No.22592/EC.2/2018-1 dated 08.12.2018 and quash the same in so far as Non Woven Polypropylene Carry Bags are concerned and consequently direct the respondents not to interfere with the petitioners manufacturing, storing, supplying, trading and selling of Non Woven Polypropylene carry bags irrespective of GSM.)

Common Order: (R. Subbiah, J.)

These batch of writ petitions have been filed by the petitioners, who are manufacturers of various forms of plastics. The writ petitions have been filed either individually or through an association involving several members. They have come forward with these writ petitions questioning the order passed by the Government of Tamil Nadu banning manufacturing, storage and distribution of certain items of plastics. The petitioners have assailed the order passed by the Government on various grounds, including infringement of their fundamental right guaranteed to them under Articles 14, 19 (1) (g) and 21 of The Constitution of India.

2. For the sake of convenience, these writ petitions are classified and/or categorised into three types and they are (i) manufacturers of non-oven plastic carry bags (ii) manufacturers of paper cups and (iii) manufacturers of plastic carry bags.

3. The Government of Tamil Nadu passed G.O. Ms. No.84, Environment and Forest Department dated 25.06.2018 ordering that the use and throw away plastics such as plastic carry bags etc., will be banned with effect from 01.01.2019. The aforesaid order was passed by the Government pursuant to an announcement made by the Chief Minister of the State on the floor of the Legislative Assembly with a view to make the State plastic free and to ban one time use of throw away plastics in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 5 of The Environment (Protection) Act (hereinafter referred to as The Act). As all these writ petitions assail the validity and/or legality of the order passed by the Government, we deem it appropriate to verbatim extract the order passed in G.O. Ms. No.84 dated 25.06.2018, which reads as follows:-

"....Whereas, plastic carry bags and other plastic items used in daily life cause short term and long term environmental damage and health hazard

And Whereas Article 48-A of The Constitution of India, inter alia, envisages that the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment.

And Whereas, it has come to the knowledge of the Government that the use of 'use and throwaway plastics' such as plastic carry bags, plastic sheets used for food wrapping, spreading on dining table etc., plastic plates, plastic coated tea cups and plastic tumbler, water pouches and packets, plastic straw and plastic flags are causing serious environmental hazards and health problems amongst human beings as well as plants and animals.

And Whereas, it is observed that the plastic wastes are also causing blockage of sewers and drains apart from resulting in pollution of water bodies.

And whereas, with a view to prevent the recurrence of such problems, the State Government have decided to issue the following directions imposing ban on manufacture, storage, supply, sale and use of 'use of throwaway plastics' such as plastic sheets used for food wrapping, spreading on dining tables etc., plastic plates, plastic coated tea cups and plastic tumbler, water pouches and packets, plastic straw, plastic carry bag and plastic flags irrespective of thickness.

Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 5 of The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (Central Act 29 of 1986) read with Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests Notification No. S.O. 152 (E) dated 10th February 1988, the Government of Tamil Nadu hereby issues the following directions:-

2. This notification will come into force on the first January 2019.

The Directions

1. (a) No industry or person shall manufacture, store, supply, transport, sale or distribute 'use and throwaway plastics'.

(b) No person including shopkeeper, vendor, wholesaler, retailer, trader, hawker or salesmen shall use 'use and throwaway plastics'.

Provided that the plastic used for the following purposes are exempted

(a) The plastic carry bags manufactured exclusively for export purpose against any export order in a plastic industry located in Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and Export Oriented Units (EOU)

(b) The plastic bags which constitute or form an integral part of packaging in which goods are sealed prior to use at manufacturing/processing units

(c) The plastic bags and sheets used in Forestry and Horticulture nurseries against the orders from the Government Departments

(d) The plastic used for packing of milk and milk products (dairy products), oil, medicine and medical equipments

(e) Carry bags made from compostable plastics bearing a label 'compostable' and conforming to the Indian Standard; IS or ISO 17088:2008 titled as specifications for "Compostable Plastics."

2. (a) The Commissioners, in respect of the Municipal Corporations and the District Collectors, in respect of the local areas other than municipal corporations shall ensure prevention of storage, supply, transport, sale, distribution and use of the above said plastic items;

(b) District Environmental Engineers shall ensure prevention of manufacturing of the above said plastic items.

Explanation 1 - "Plastic" means material which contains as an essential ingredient a high polymer such as polyethylene terephithalate, high density polyethylene, Vinyl, low density polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene resins, multi-materials like acrylonitrite butadiene styrene, polyphenylene oxide, polycarbonate, polybutylene terephthalate.

Explanation 2 - 'Use and throwaway plastic' means items such as plastic carry bags or plastic flats, plastic sheets used for food wrapping, spreading on dining table etc., plastic plates, plastic coated tea cups and plastic tumbler, water pouches and packets, plastic straw irrespective of thickness.

Explanation 3 - "plastic sheet" means sheet made of plastic

Explanation 4:- "Carry bag" means bag made from plastic material, used for the purpose of carrying or dispensing commodities which have a self carrying feature but do not include bag that constitute or form an integral part of the packaging in which goods are sealed prior to use.

Explanation : 5:- The word "compostable plastic" means plastic that undergoes degradation by biological processes during composting to yield Carbon di-oxide, water, inorganic compounds and biomass at a rate consistent with other known compostable materials, excluding conventional petro-based plastics, and does not leave visible, distinguishable or toxic residue."

4. It is this order passed by the Government in G.O. (Ms) No.84, Environment and Forest Department, dated 25.06.2018 which is put to challenge in these batch of writ petitions.

5. Non Woven Carry Bags:-

(i) WP Nos. 33453, 33461 and 33463 of 2018 have been filed by the petitioners, who are engaged in manufacturing and supplying, trading and storing of non-woven polypropylene carry bags of various specifications, which according to them, can be used for various applications like industrial packaging material, packaging bags, industrial lining and other medical applications. It is their case that such carry bags are manufactured from fibre grade textile polymers, which are classified under the category 'green' in technical textile fabrics. According to them, these poly-propylene non-woven carry bags basically consists of textile materials and not plastics and therefore they are 100% recyclable and reusable. These bags manufactured by the petitioners have a fabric like structure with excellent breathability, air and water permeability and it will not result in clogging of drains/sewage lines. The raw materials used for manufacturing non woven fabrics are also used in medical and surgical gown, face mask, filters, shade nets and as packaging materials and shopping bags of all types. It is further contended that non-woven fabric is a fabric which does not block the drainage system or it will not make soil infertile as in the case of polythene bags. It is their case that non-woven polypropylene carry bags are porous in nature and it will enable air and water to pass through. Therefore, according to the petitioners, the best solution for plastic bag problem is the non woven polypropylene carry bags, which are eco-friendly bags and cater to the shopping needs of the people.

(ii) The petitioners in WP No. 33453, 33461 and 33463 of 2018 would further contend that the petitioners have availed substantial loan for commencement of the business and have commitment to repay the said loan. In such a situation, by the impugned order, the Government has banned the manufacturing activities. While so, the government passed the order dated 25.06.2018, which is impugned in these writ petitions, prohibiting manufacture, sale and supply of use and throw away plastics which had resulted in huge unemployment and prejudice to the petitioners. Further, by virtue of the order dated 25.06.2018, banning certain items of plastics, the Government has unreasonably conferred exemption to certain other products without any valid reasons. Therefore, contending that non woven carry bags ought not to have been banned by the respondents inasmuch as it is eco-friendly as per the test results released by CIPET, the petitioners would pray for setting aside the same in so far as it relates to imposition of ban on manufacture, storage, supply, trading and selling of non woven polypropylene carry bags irrespective of GSM (Gram Per Square Meter) is concerned.

6. (i) Mr. T.P. Manoharan, learned Senior counsel appearing for the petitioners in WP No. 33453, 33461 and 33463 of 2018 would mainly contend that the respondents did not consider that non woven polypropylene carry bags are eco-friendly and hundred percent recyclable and reusable bags and there is no necessity to impose the ban. The non woven polypropylene carry bags being manufactured by the petitioners are porous, over which water and air will pass through and degrades under the sun light within a very short span of time. According to the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners, before imposing the ban, the respondents did not undertake any scientific study as to the nature and extent to which the non woven polypropylene bags would degrade under the soil. In the absence of such scientific study, the order of the Government has to be set aside on the ground of non-application of mind. In fact, at the time when the order, banning certain plastic products were issued by the Government on 25.06.2018, the respondents have not included non woven polycarbonate bags, however, subsequently, by way of clarification made on 08.12.2018, in column No.3, non woven polycarbonate bags were also included without any scientific study or analysis. Even as per the report submitted by Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology (in short CIPET), it is clinically proved that non woven fabric are eco friendly fabrics which do not pollute or create any harm to the environment. It is further contended that the order passed by the Government has virtually paralysed the entire industry and several persons were thrown out of employment and rendered jobless. The petitioners have invested huge amount by taking loan from banks and financial institutions to run the industry and they are heavily depending on this trade for their livelihood. Thus, the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners would contend that the order passed by the Government is in violation of Article 19 (1) (g) of The Constitution of India. Even though the respondents are entitled to regulate and impose reasonable restriction, it cannot curb or totally prohibit the manufacture, trade, sale and storing of the manufactured goods. The Government can regulate the ratio of percentage of polypropylene in non woven carry bags by fixing the GSM, but it cannot prohibit the industry from manufacturing, supply and sale of the products by imposing a total ban. The action of the respondents in imposing a total ban on production, sale and manufacture of non woven polypropylene bags, is a result of colourable exercise of powers intended to curb the trade carried on by the petitioners.

(ii) The learned Senior counsel for the petitioners in WP Nos. 33453, 33461 and 33463 of 2018 would further contend that non woven polypropylene carry bags do not contain fixed percentage of polypropylene in carry bags and they are manufactured as per the customer requirement. The learned Senior counsel for the petitioners further submitted that the Delhi High Court in WP (C) No. 8120 of 2019 (in the case of Praveen Mittal vs. Department of Environment) dismissed the plea of the petitioners therein on the ground that non oven carry bags contain 98.2% polypropylene. In this context, the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners would contend that even as per the test report of CIPET, not all non woven carry bags contain 98.2% polypropylene. These bags are not intended for a single use and therefore they will not fall within the category of "one time use and throw away" plastics. Further, these bags are not given free of cost and therefore, there is no possibility for the users to throw it after a single use. The filler in non woven carry bags is produced from limestone (natural one) and it is added with polypropylene in different proportions according to the affordability of the customers. The more the filler content, the lesser the price of the bag would be and the price of the bag depends on the proportions of the filler. The more the filler content in the bag, the disintegration of the bag would be faster. Above all, the State Government entered into tri-partite agreement with the petitioners' unit with a promise to extend necessary support. However, such a promise was not kept up by the government, as it had imposed a total ban on manufacture, sale and supply of the non woven carry bags. The machineries purchased by the petitioners by availing loan have become a scrap, inasmuch as those machineries cannot be put to any other use. In any event, the object of the Government is only to curb the use of one time use and throw away bags. The non woven carry bags cannot fall within the scope and ambit of one time use and throw away bags, on the other hand, it would serve as an alternative for plastic bags throughout the World. The order which is impugned in these writ petitions, have not been passed in public interest and therefore, the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners prayed for allowing these writ petitions.

7. The petitioners in WP No. 1821 of 2019 etc., batch would contend that they are engaged in manufacture and supply of non woven carry bags. According to the petitioners, the State Government launched a project called NEEDS (New Entrepreneur cum Enterprises Development Scheme) to develop the Industry vide G.O. Ms.No.49, MSME (D2) Department dated 29.10.2012. As per the scheme, skill training was given by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute (MSME-DI) and by the Entrepreneurship Development and Innovation Institute (EDII), Government of Tamil Nadu to the petitioners. After completing such training, the petitioners entered into a Tripartite agreement with the concerned District Industrial Centre along with the bank or financial institution to get subsidy and loan. That apart, the petitioners have also invested huge amount by borrowing to commence the manufacturing activities. Most of the petitioners' units have been started very recently, just prior to the ban. Even the Government has entered into Tri-Partite agreement with some of the petitioners' units promising to extend their support for establishment and operation of the project for manufacturing non-woven carry bags. Believing such assurance given by the representatives of the Government, the petitioners have commenced the running of the units without any hindrance. Even on 31.12.2018, one day prior to the ban that came into force, the Government entered into such tri-partite agreement with one of the petitioners' units by name, Shine enterprises. Even for some of the petitioners' units, loans were sanctioned during the month of November 2018 prior to the ban and during January 2019, soon after the ban. The Government also extended the MSME scheme till the year 2022, vide G.O. Ms. No.13, MSME (D-2) Department dated 24.04.2018 and this scheme is in force as on date. Thus, the action of the Government in encouraging the petitioners to commence their business on the one hand and imposing the ban on the other, would attract the principle of promissory estoppel. According to the petitioners, they were deceived by the Government with false assurance for continuance of the business, however, the Government imposed the ban for manufacturing the non-woven carry bags, which resulted in closure of the petitioners' units rendering several thousands of employees jobless.

8.(i) Mr. P.S. Raman, learned Senior counsel appearing for the petitioners, who are engaged in manufacture of non woven carry bags, would vehemently contend that non woven carry bags are made out of Poly Proplyene granules by spun bonding fibres similar to polyester filaments used for manufacturing of sarees, shirts etc., which has got air and water permeability. Therefore, even if the non woven carry bags are discarded, absolutely there is no possibility for clogging or choking of water channel, drains, sewer lines etc., These fabrics are chemically inert and non-toxic and therefore, even burning these materials will not produce any poisonous gases or pollutants. Thus, these materials used for manufacturing of non woven carry bags, are porous in nature and enables water and air to pass through. The learned Senior counsel for the petitioners also demonstrated before this Court, by pouring water into the sample brought before this Court, to show that these materials enable water and air to pass through freely. According to the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners, the very nature of non woven plastic bags is such, as it has high porosity, which would make it useless for packing liquid food items. The non woven bags disintegrate on exposure to sun light and rainfall. Even the test report issued by CIPET has proved that non woven carry bags are 100% eco-friendly. Even the Life Cycle Assessment study done by the Central Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Forest and Climate Change, reveals that non woven carry bag is the real substitute and alternate for plastics, as they are porous in nature and air and water can pass through it freely.

(ii) According to the learned Senior counsel for the petitioner, the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India has clarified that the non-woven carry bag fabric is classified as a Technical Textile and the said Ministry had promoted the same. Further, the non-oven Polypropylene carry bags can be manufactured as per the requirement of customer and there is no fixed percentage of polypropylene in carry bags and not all Non-woven carry bags contain 98.2% polypropylene. However, the Government of Tamil Nadu has issued the impugned order banning the non-woven carry bags by branding it as "one time use and throw" material.

(iii) The learned Senior counsel for the petitioners would further contend that the Government can very well regulate the ratio of Polypropylene in Non Woven Carry bags by fixing the percentage of GSM, however, a total ban or prohibition is not warranted. Such a ban had led to serious unemployment problem and the machineries purchased by the members of the petitioner association could not be put to any use. This is more so as the machineries purchased by the petitioners could only be used for manufacture of non woven carry bags and it could not be used for any other purpose. The impact that could be caused owing to production and manufacture of non woven carry bags has to be addressed by scientific and technological means and the prohibition or ban of non woven carry bags will not be a solution. The industries in a State have to co-exist with environment, taking into consideration the employment opportunities it would generate, however, without taking note of the effect of the ban of plastics that would cause, more particularly, the non woven carry bags, the government has imposed a sweeping ban, which is not warranted.

(iv) The learned Senior counsel for the petitioners would further demonstrate that non woven polypropylene is also used in various medical, industrial and other applications including diapers, sanitary napkins etc., in terms of the Plastic Waster Management Rules, 2016 and they exhibit very high percentage values compared to non woven carry bags. While the disposal of other poly propylene products is permitted with treatment methods, if and when stipulated, equally it should be extended to non woven poly propylene bags as well. Further, Polypropylene is often used as a non absorbable, synthetic suture material in medical implants and Hernia surgery, since it will not cause any health hazard, even if it is kept inside the human body. Further, syringes which are extensively used in medical profession are made up of polypropylene, which would prove that it will not cause any health hazard to human being.

(v) According to the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners, as per the test report from CIPET, the non woven carry bags contain less percentage of poly propylene, which varies from 57% to 70% and an average carry bag can be produced with 30% to 90% of polypropylene. The petitioners are also ready to manufacture the non woven carry bags with any fixed percentage as may be fixed by this Court or any other authority. There is no alternative to non woven carry bags and they are not made of 100% polypropylene. Even as per the test report given by CIPET, non-woven carry bags contain only 65.05% polypropylene and 34.95% filler content. In fact, chemicals which are more toxic and harmful to environment and human existence are used in the manufacture of industrial products, such as Mercury and Cyanide, but they are not either banned or prohibited by citing flimsy and unfounded reasons. As per the Plastic Waste Management Rules, the respondents owe a duty to collect the waste items through their municipal authorities and instead of discharging such duty cast upon them, the respondents have found a short cut means to ban the whole industry. The environment object and goals of the State can be achieved by imposing positive measures such as proper treatment prior to disposal. In any event, imposing a total prohibition or ban of the product is not an alternative solution. Before imposing the ban, the respondents did not conduct any scientific study with regard to the impact as to whether any harm would be caused to the environment due to the usage of the non woven carry bags. In the absence of such study, the impugned order prohibiting the production, supply or storage of non woven carry bags cannot be sustained.

(vi) That apart, the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners would impress upon the fact that non woven carry bags cannot be categorised as one time or single use and throw away items. The non woven carry bags will not be thrown away after a single use and there is also no statistics to show that the non woven carry bags are causing any impact on the environment. This is more so that non woven carry bags are not distributed free of cost warranting the users to throw it after a single use. Further, waste segregation is an important task which the Municipal authorities or local body have to carry out. Instead of ensuring that the instrumentalities of the government are efficiently discharging such duties, the government had chosen to adopt a short cut method to ban the non woven carry bags. If waste segregation is properly done by adopting scientific and novel methods, the ban may not be necessary.

(vii) The learned Senior counsel for the petitioners also demonstrated that scientific study proves that even the discarded plastic bags can be used as an ingredient for laying Asphalt roads. The Government, for the reasons best known to them, did not adopt such technology to recycle the discarded plastic. Instead of adopting and implementing ecological alternatives for re-use and re-cycling of the plastic, the Government had hastily imposed the ban without any scientific study preceding such ban.

(viii) The learned Senior counsel for the petitioners further submitted that the State has no competency to issue a total ban on the industries engaged in production of non woven carry bags, inasmuch as it is a subject in the Central list. Even though the petitioners, who are manufacturers of non woven carry bags did not question the competency of the State in issuing the impugned order, assuming that the State has got delegated powers, such power should be used to preserve the economy of the State, instead the government imposed the ban and thereby destroyed the economy of the State. The ban imposed by the Government has resulted in unemployment and the livelihood of several employees has been thrown to street. Therefore, it is contended by the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners that the impugned ban is in total violation of Article 19 (1) (g) of The Constitution of India. Further, before imposing the ban, the stake holders were not consulted and no notice was issued to the manufacturers as a whole. Even though some of the Associations have approached the Government and given their objections, that in itself will not dispense with the requirement to hear all the stakeholders who are likely to be affected before the ban. There is no scientific data available to show that non woven carry bags can be littered in Municipal solid waste. On the other hand, if the Government intends to give effect to the concept of micro plastics, they should also impose ban on toothpaste and cosmetic items such as face wash, scrubs etc., which directly affect the marine life. However, those products are not banned by the Government but it had chosen to ban only the non woven carry bags and therefore, the impugned order of the Government is vitiated on the ground of discrimination.

(ix) As far as non woven carry bags are concerned, as on date, there is no benchmark as to what should be the thickness (in GSM), however, the petitioners are willing to undertake to manufacture non woven carry bags with not less than 50 GSM thickness and further undertake to print the name and registration number of the manufacturer. The non woven carry bags manufactured by the petitioners fall under the green category and such products cannot be construed as pollutants warranting the petitioners to get consent from the Pollution Control Board of the State. When the non woven carry bags are not meant for single use and throw away items are not available for free of cost, these bags cannot be littered in the garbage and there is no scope for these bags to cause any blockage in the drain. At any rate, while choosing or rejecting or banning a product, well known principles of environmental science/engineering/chemistry are to be applied in conjunction with the principle of life cycle analysis, which deal with the entire life of the material and not just one or more isolated phase. In effect, the consumption of water in the manufacture of paper, jute and cotton far exceed as compared to polypropylene. In a State which is perennially facing water shortage, it would be environmentally and economically prudent to promote a material such as non woven carry bags, which requires less water for production and disposal. The learned Senior counsel for the petitioners therefore prayed for allowing the writ petitions filed by the manufacturers of non woven carry bags.

9. (i) Mr. Kundan Kumar Mishra, learned counsel appearing for South India Non Woven Manufacturers Association, petitioner in WP No. 3337 of 2019, would vehemently contend that the blanket ban issued by the Government as against use and throw away products, is illegal. According to the learned counsel, the Government has banned only those products which are meant for single use and necessarily that have to be thrown away after one use and not the products which can be used multiple times such as non woven bags. In effect, it is his contention that non woven carry bags can be used countless number of times and therefore, there is no justification to ban non woven fabric bags. Even otherwise, for the first time, the Government have chosen to ban the non woven bags in the letter dated 08.12.2018, by way of clarification on the erroneous reasoning that non woven carry bags are meant for single use. On the contrary, non woven carry bags are extremely thick (more than 100-300 micron) which is 100 times more thicker than the prescribed thickness (50 microns) envisaged under the Plastic Waste Rules. It also possess very high GSM viz., upto 200 or more and these products are extremely durable and can hold weight than the cotton and jute bags. Above all, these products are 100% recycleable and they do not degrade unless exposed to sunlight continuously for well over months together. Thus, under the normal circumstances, these bags will last for years and then it can also be recycled at the end fully and completely. Unlike plastic covers, these bags are not littered and they do not pose any danger to the ecology. It is his contention that these bags are extremely porous with high permeability and therefore they will not choke in the drains or sewerage warranting these products to be banned. These products are made up of Poly-propylene and calcium carbonate viz., the content of Poly-propylene is variable between 30% to 90% depending upon the nature and size of the bags. The contents of poly-propylene and calcium carbonate will ensure its inert state and is not injurious to environment. The colorants and pigments used are prescribed by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and therefore, they are completely safe for being used. Even burning of the non woven bags will not produce any poisonous gases, as it is made of carbon and hydrogen.

(ii) According to the learned counsel for the petitioner in WP No. 3337 of 2019, the nature and extent of use of non-woven bags have been totally misunderstood by the respondents. The learned counsel for the petitioner also would contend that non-woven carry bags generate 60% less greenhouse gas emissions than un-composted paper bags and 79% less greenhouse gas emissions than composted paper bags. It is further stated that the respondents, without giving effect to the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, had erroneously imposed the ban on non woven plastic bags without any scientific data or study. According to the learned counsel for the petitioner, for deciding between various approaches in Solid Waste Management, the first step is to reduce waste generation and secondly to re-use the material for the purpose for which it was originally intended or to recycle the material that cannot be reused. The third step, according to the learned counsel for the petitioner is to recover them in an environmental friendly manner and energy from solid waste that cannot be economically and technically reused or recycled and lastly, to dispose of the solid waste, that is not being reused or recycled by land burial or other approved methods. However, without resorting to these scientific waste management approach, the respondents have decided to impose a total ban. According to the counsel for the petitioner, the parameters laid down in the aforesaid Rules have not been strictly followed by one and all in the matter of waste segregation or littering. In such circumstances, the respondents ought to have imposed stringent measures to implement the Rules instead of passing the impugned order. In this context, the learned counsel for the petitioner placed reliance on the order dated 02.01.2017 passed by the National Green Tribunal in O.A. No. 199 of 2014 in the case of Mrs. Almitra H. Patel, Convenor, INTACH Waste Network, Bangalore and another vs. Union of India, through its Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi and others wherein the Tribunal relied on the order dated 02.09.2014 of the Honourable Supreme Court, transferring WP No. 888 of 1996 to the file of the Tribunal, with an observation as follows:-

"WP (C) No. 888 of 1996:- This petition filed in public interest as early as in the year 1996 praying for the reliefs that are set out in as many as eleven pages of the petition. It is, therefore, unnecessary to extract the same in extenso. Suffice it to say that several orders have been passed by this Court the past 18 years or so, in regard to the prayers made in the writ petition. One significant development that has been taken place pursuant to whose orders is the framing of the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The Rules, in turn, came to be framed pursuant to a report submitted by a committee constituted by this Court. With the framing of the Rules all that remains to be done is an effective enforcement of the said Rules and possible upgradation of technology wherever necessary. Enforcement of the Rules and efforts to upgrade the technology relevant to the handling of solid municipal waste is a perennial challenge and would require constant efforts and monitoring with a view to making the municipal authorities concerned accountable, taking note of dereliction, if any, issuing suitable directions, consistent with the said Rules and direction incidental to the purpose underlying the Rules such as upgradation of technology wherever possible....."

(iii) By quoting the above decision, the learned counsel for the petitioner would contend that the Government failed to implement the Solid Waste Management Rules as well as the Plastic Waste Management Rules effectively. However, the failure on the part of the government to implement the aforesaid Rules cannot be a reason for imposing the ban and it is in violation of Article 19 (1) (g) of The Constitution of India.

(iv) The learned counsel for the petitioner invited the attention of this Court to Rule 4 of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1989 and contended that it prescribes a mandatory procedure for exercise of the power under Section 5 of the Act and it mandates that any direction shall have to be issued in writing by specifically pointing out the deficiency and also the nature of action proposed. As per sub-rule (3-a) of Rule 4, the individual violator has to be served with a notice indicating the proposed action and calling for his objections. Similarly, Rule 4 (3) (b), Rule 4 (4) and Rule 4 (6) also mandates individual notice to be served on the violator before proposing to take any action. Therefore, in the absence of compliance of the procedures contemplated under Rule 4, the respondents are legally not competent to invoke Section 5 of the Act and pass the impugned order.

(v) The learned counsel for the petitioner also assailed the impugned order on the ground that the Government is not legislatively and jurisdictionally competent to pass the impugned order. In other words, the Government is not empowered to pass the impugned order by invoking Section 5 of the Act. According to the learned counsel for the petitioner, the provisions contained under the Act and the Rules framed thereunder envisages exercise of punitive powers and taking administrative measures for the purpose of protection and improvement of environment. Section 5 of the Act does not confer power to impose a ban on any product and it has to be established that the said product or industry operation or process producing the said product or in themselves, are actually causing hazard to the environment. Thus, the Act provides power for imposing ban upon or for the closure, prohibition or regulation of any specific industry or operation or process. The words "any industry, operation or process" mean a specific industry such as cotton/textile industry, cement industry, chemical industry etc., It is his contention that the directions, if any, issued under Section 5 of the Act must run in conformity with and subject to the Act and Rules framed thereunder and not in contravention or supersession thereof. According to the learned counsel, Executive instructions or administrative directions can never be a supplement or replacement to the statutory Rules as has been laid down by the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of The State of Maharashtra vs. Jagannath Achyut Karalikar, reported in AIR 1989 SC 1133. He also relied on several other decisions to drive home the point that administrative instructions cannot over ride statutory law. In effect, he would contend that the directions under Section 5 of the Act have to be issued only by the Central Government and the State Government is not empowered to invoke Section 5 of the Act.

(vi) It is his contention that the text of Section 5 of the Act is explicit about its ambit and scope that it is a preventive power targeted against an individual, violator, miscreant, polluter or a delinquent who violates the terms and conditions thereof and not against a group of persons or class of industries. In other words, Section 5 of the Act does not empower the State Government to issue a notification of general or generic nature or to exercise a rule making power for a whole State and it only gives power to issue a specific direction of a specific nature against a specific person/specific officer or specific authority for a specific purpose etc., In this context, the learned counsel for the petitioner relied on the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in Ramachandra Keshav Adike vs. Govind Joti Chavare reported in 1975 (1) SCC 559 to contend that when power is given to do a certain thing in a certain way, the thing must be done in that way or not at all and other methods of performance are necessarily forbidden. The power conferred upon the Executive Authorities, must be defined within clearly defined limits and any excess exercise of power is arbitrary.

(vii) The learned counsel for the petitioner further contended that the impugned orders are per se in violation of principles of natural justice. The post-decisional hearing given to some of the manufacturers of plastics will not amount to compliance of principles of natural justice and it would amount to complying with an empty formality.

(viii) The learned counsel for the petitioner also brought to the notice of this Court the appeal filed by Karnataka State Plastic Association vs. The State of Karnataka and others before the National Green Tribunal (South Zone Bench), wherein the respondents viz., Ministry of Environment and Forest, Union of India as well as CIPET have filed an affidavit in support of the plastic industries and explained that the real issue concerning the environment is not plastic, but waste management that has to be adopted in letter and spirit. Further, taking note of the fact that several States have resorted to ban one time single use products, the Department of Chemical and Petrochemical has shown its concern and constituted an Expert Committee on 31.12.2018 and the Committee is examining the real issues in controversy concerning the "environment". The Committee is yet to define the term "single use and throw away plastics" In such a situation, when the Committee is yet to define the term 'single use', the ban imposed by the State Government is unwarranted. The learned counsel also placed reliance on various reports submitted before the committees constituted by various States, including the Justice R.C. Chopra Committee report dated 14.05.2018, in which it was suggested that plastic is not hazardous and not injurious. It was also recommended that imposing a ban is not a solution and that bio-degradable or jute, cotton or paper bags, are not a solution at all, which have their own sets of environmental ramifications. Therefore, it is the contention of the learned counsel that imposing a blanket ban on manufacture, supply and use of non woven carry bags is unwarranted and it is not based on any scientific study.

(ix) According to the learned counsel for the petitioner, plastic is not hazardous and not injurious. Plastic is a miracle material and several human beings depend on it in their daily livelihood. Plastic makes life so convenient in the day to day life of the human beings. Even though Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 have been framed, the Government has no mechanism to implement the same. The learned counsel therefore prayed for allowing WP No. 3337 of 2019 as prayed for.

10. WP No. 3984 of 2019 has been filed by Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Paper Cup Manufactures Association, Chennai questioning the validity of the order dated 25.06.2018 passed by the State Government. According to the petitioner-Association, their Association consists of over 400 manufacturers of reinforced paper cups operating in and around Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of Pudhcherry and they are duly registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act. It is their case that their members are involved in production and manufacture of reinforced paper cups which are meant for being used for supply of tea, coffee and hot beverages and their customers include Indian Railways, Aavin milk parlour, hotel industries, corporate entities etc., There are approximately 1200 manufacturers of papers cups, whose average production includes 5000 tons of paper cups every month. The manufacturers are small and medium scale enterprises and they provide employment to nearly 5 lakh to 6 lakh employees. The Paper cup industry is also actively promoted by the Government by providing subsidies and loans to entrepreneurs through Government recognised banks.

11. Mr. Ajmal Khan, learned Senior counsel appearing for the petitioners, who are engaged in manufacturing of paper cups, would mainly contend that the composition of each paper cup includes 94% of food grade paper and only 6% of Low Density Poly Ethylene (LDPE) coating and the base paper boards are made by adopting environmental friendly and hygienic methods that avoids the use of bleach and other harmful Optical Brightening Agents (OBA). In other words, paper cups are made of 92 to 94% of paper and a thin silver food grade Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) of 6 to 8%. The LDPE layer gives sealability and water resistance while the virgin fibre based paper provides the strength and/or grip to hold the cup. Such paper cups are made from pulp wood sourced from farm forestry plantations and provides livelihood to farmers. The Indian paper industry supported the plantations cover more than a million hectare. Thus, paper is one of the very few substrates where the raw material (pulp wood) can be regenerated and post-use paper can be re-cycled. Paper cups are therefore seen as a most convenient and hygienic way of consuming hot and cold drinks. The used paper cups have a value and can be recycled by paper mills. The thickness of the paper boards varies from 165 to 300 GSM and the LDPE coating on the base paper boards is only 15 GSM in conformity with Food Grade Standards. Though plastic has been banned in various States in India, none of the States has ever banned paper cup so far. It is the vehement contention of the learned Senior counsel for the petitioner that paper cups are predominantly made of papers and only they contain a minimal percentage of plastic and therefore, it ought not to have been banned by the Government by passing the impugned order dated 25.06.2018. Therefore, the learned Senior counsel for the petitioner prayed for allowing this writ petition as prayed for.

12.(i) Mr. P. Wilson, learned Senior counsel appearing for the petitioners in WP No. 33738 of 2018 as well as WP No. 828 and 857 of 2019 filed by the petitioners who are engaged in manufacture of plastic carry bags, would mainly assail the impugned order of the Government on the ground of Legislative competence and jurisdiction. According to the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners, the Environmental (Protection) Act (in short, the Act) is Legislated under Entry 97 of List I of the VII Schedule of the Constitution of India, which deals with Union list, while so, the State has no competence over the subject relating to environmental protection which is vested with the Central Government. Consequently, the State cannot invoke Article 162 of The Constitution of India to issue the impugned Government Order. When the subject relating to environmental protection or to prevent pollution of the ecology or damages to the environment, the State Government is not jurisdictionally competent to take into aid Section 5 of The Act. Further, the impugned Government Order was issued by the Governor in exercise of the powers conferred under Article 162 of The Constitution of India. However, Article 162 of The Constitution of India, can be pressed into service by the Governor only with respect to the matters in which the State Legislature has power to make laws. Therefore, the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners would contend that the impugned order of the Government is capricious, whimsical, fanciful, illegal and violative of Articles 14 and 21 of The Constitution of India. In this context, reference was made to the decision of The Honourable Supreme Court in the case of Godawat Pan Masala Products I.P. Limited vs. Union of India, reported in (2004) 7 SCC 68, wherein the Honourable Supreme Court had an occasion to consider the correctness of the restriction imposed on "pan masala" and held that such restriction is not a reasonable restriction and it is in violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens under Article 19 of The Constitution of India. Useful reference of the said judgment can be made as under:-

"43. Mr Shanti Bhushan, learned counsel for the appellant in SLP No. 2186 of 2003, urged that the said appellant manufactures Rajnigandha Pan Masala which contains no tobacco. Though there might be arecanut in it, there is no trace of magnesium carbonate in the product. Assuming that traces of magnesium carbonate were to be formed during consumption of the product along with lime, the exercise of power should have been restricted to banning pan masala containing magnesium carbonate and not wholesale banning of pan masala, irrespective of the content of magnesium carbonate. The learned counsel contended that the order made under Section 7(iv) of the Act is bad for it is an unreasonable and excessive restriction on the fundamental right to carry on trade or business guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India. The learned counsel highlighted the unreasonableness by reference to the provisions of the Act and the Rules and the specific situation contemplated in Appendix B at paragraph A.25.02.01, which gives the definition and standards of quality with reference to chewing gum and bubble gum, for which magnesium carbonate, inter alia, is a permitted ingredient. He, therefore, contends that magnesium carbonate is not per se injurious to health for otherwise it would never have been permitted in any article of food. There is no material on the basis of which it can be demonstrated that the very same magnesium carbonate would become injurious to health if it arises on account of mixing of traces of magnesium in arecanut and carbonate in lime. According to the learned counsel, this is a clear case of non-application of mind, notwithstanding the medical research papers and data made available in the affidavit filed by the State Government.

44. We are unable to discern as to how the very same magnesium carbonate would become injurious as a result of combined chewing of arecanut and lime, particularly when it is not the case of the State Government that Rajnigandha Pan Masala itself contains magnesium carbonate. It is permissible under Article 19(6) to impose a reasonable restriction “in the interest of general public”. Assuming that such a restriction can be imposed, even if by legislation intended to prohibit manufacture, sale or storage of articles harmful or injurious to health, the restriction has to be commensurate with the danger posed. On a conspectus of the facts, we are unable to uphold the prohibition imposed by the impugned notification as a restriction which can pass the test of reasonableness under Article 19(6) of the Constitution of India for two reasons. Firstly, there is no demonstrated danger to the public health by magnesium carbonate by consumption of Rajnigandha Pan Masala; secondly, even if there were, the prohibition could only have extended to pan masala containing magnesium carbonate and could not be wider than that."

(ii) Next it is contended by the learned Senior Counsel that Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 was enacted by Central Government in exercise of the powers conferred under Sections 3, 6 and 25 of the Act. The said Rules were framed with the concept of sustainable development and polluter's pay principle. It is noteworthy to mention that the Rules permit manufacturing of certain items of products, but the same products were prohibited by the Government in the impugned order. Therefore, the impugned order of the Government is repugnant and inconsistent with the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. Rule 3 (c) of The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 defines 'carry bags' as the one made from plastic material or compostable plastic material, but do not form an integral part of the packaging in which goods are sealed prior to use. The Rule also imposes responsibility on the producer for upkeep of the environmental management until the end of its life. As per Rule 4 (1) of The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, the manufacturer, importer stocking, distribution, sale and use of carry bags, plastic sheets or like, or cover made of plastic sheet and multi-layered packaging, shall be subject to conditions mentioned in Rule 4 (1) (a) to (i) therein. Rule 4 (1) (a) states that carry bags and plastic packaging shall either be in natural shade, which is without any added pigments or made using only those pigments and colourants, which are in conformity with Indian Standard: IS 9833 : 1981 titled as "List of Pigments and colourants for use in plastics in contact with foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and drinking water", as amended from time to time. Rule 4 (1) (b) prohibits carry bags made of recycled plastic or products made of recycled plastic from being stored, carried, dispensed or used for packing ready to eat or drink food stuff. Rule 4 (1) (c) further provides that carry bags made of virgin shall not be less than 50 microns in thickness. Rule 5 of the said Rules imposes an obligation on the local bodies to recycle the plastic waste generated and to encourage the use of plastic waste, which cannot be recycled, for road construction as per Indian Road Congress guidelines or energy recovery or waste to oil etc., Rule 6 of the said Rules fixes responsibility on the local body for setting up infrastructure to deal with segregation, collection, storage, transportation, processing and disposal of plastic waste, either on its own or by engaging agencies or producers so as to protect the environment from being damaged. Similarly, Rule 7 fixes responsibility on the Gram Panchayat. As per Rule 8, the waste generator shall take steps to minimise generation of plastic waste and segregate plastic waste at source in accordance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2000. Similarly, as per Rule 12, the prescribed Authority to oversee and monitor the enforcement of the provisions, is the State Pollution Control Board. Therefore, the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners would contend that the aforesaid Rules give a complete set of regulations to regulate the solid waste accumulated. The Government, having failed to fulfil the provisions contained under the Solid Waste Management Rules, has come up with the impugned order to totally ban certain items of plastics. Thus, the impugned order is repugnant and inconsistent and is an attempt to override the statutory provisions contained under the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

(iii) The learned Senior counsel for the petitioners would further contend that the impugned order has been passed without any scientific study and without consulting the stake holders. However, in the impugned order, it has been stated that an environmental study has been undertaken by the Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and based on the report submitted by the said Institute during June 2018, it was decided to impose the ban. However, the report only suggested imposing the ban on sensitive ecological and tourist attracting places and no where the report suggested banning the manufacturing industries as a whole. Even as per the report, the Department of Civil Engineering confined its study only in respect of 12 tourist places within 20 days. It is also not clear as to whether in the report prepared by experts in the field of plastics or environment, who are all the members of the Committee and to what extent such report could be relied upon. However, it is this report which was relied on by the Government to issue the impugned Government Order.

(iv) Next it is contended that the impugned order passed by the Government is per se arbitrary and discriminatory. According to the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners, there are multi-layered packets which sells various items of snacks and food items, however, for the reasons best known, they are not banned by the Government. In these cases, the consumers, immediately after consuming the product, simply litter the packets and these multi-layered packets could not get composted for years together. Similarly, Aavin milk is being supplied/distributed throughout the State by the State Government Undertaking in plastic covers. Here again, the consumers, soon after consumption of milk, throws away and litters the bin with the plastic covers used for supply of milk, however, the State Government did not ban the use of plastic covers for supply of milk. The learned Senior counsel for the petitioners also quoted several products which are sold in multi-layered packets including biscuits, chocolates, tea bags, consumables such as tooth paste etc., however, those multi-layered packets which are also not degradable, have not been banned by the Government. Thus, it is contended that the impugned order passed by the Government by giving exemption to some of the plastic items and choosing only to ban use and throwaway plastic carry bags, amounts to discrimination and on that ground, the impugned ban order has to be set aside.

(v) According to the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners, there are 6001 industries in the State engaged in manufacturing various types of carry bags, in which about 3 lakhs employees are directly employed and another 3 lakhs are employed indirectly. The revenue generated through these industries could be roughly around Rs.1,800 crores and these industries have borrowed loans from various Public Sector Banks and Nationalised Banks to run the show. While so, the impugned order passed by the Government ordering closure of these industries, had resulted in unimaginable prejudice and loss to these industries. It was reasoned that the ban is being imposed on use, storage, manufacture and supply of 'one time use of throwaway plastics', irrespective of thickness due to menace caused at the user end, namely disposing the plastic waste indiscriminately, thereby causing blockage of sewers and drains, apart from polluting the water bodies. If it is so, it will not be a ground for banning manufacture, storage, supply and sale of plastics and there is no reasonable nexus or object sought to be achieved by imposing the ban on such plastics. On the other hand, by way of the very same Government order, certain items of products of plastics were given exemption. Thus, according to the learned Senior counsel for the petitioner, there is no reasonable classification between products mentioned in Clause 1 (d) proviso and those which are covered under Clause 1 (a) and 1 (b) of the impugned Government Order and it offends Article 14 of The Constitution of India. Above all, the task of collecting, segregating the waste etc., are the functions of the Municipality and their failure to discharge their duty in the matter of collection and segregation of plastic waste, should not be put against the petitioners from manufacturing and sale of the plastics. Further, the word 'irrespective of thickness' mentioned in the impugned order to ban 9 items is repugnant and inconsistent to the Plastic Waste Management Rules, Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 as well as the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 and Plastics Manufacture, Sale and Usage Rules, 1999, which were enacted in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 3 read with Section 25 of The Act. According to the learned Senior counsel, the Plastics Manufacture, Sale and Usage Rules, 1999 regulates the plastic manufacture, sale and usage with effect from 02.09.1999. It also contains conditions for manufacture of carry bags and containers made of plastics. Rule 8 thereof provides for thickness of carry bags, while Rule 10 relates to grant of registration of manufacturers. Subsequently, the Plastics Manufacture, Sale and Usage Rules, 1999 were superseded by Plastic Waste Management Rules, which were once again amended and the present Rules viz., Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 is in force. Even the retailers and street vendors' responsibility is spelt out in Rule 14 of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 to the effect that they shall not sell or provide commodities to consumer in carry bags or plastic sheet or multi-layered packaging, which are not manufactured or labelled or marked as per the norms prescribed. Therefore, the Central Government framed Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 upon conferment of powers under Sections 3, 6 and 25 of the Act for minimising plastic waste and disposal of the same. When Central Government has already framed Rules under the Act which permits manufacture, sale, supply and use of certain plastic under the Plastic Waste Management Rules, under the guise of curbing the menace of pollution, regulating plastic waste and source segregation, the State Government had banned certain items of plastics which were permitted to be manufactured under the Plastic Waste Management Rules, hence, the impugned Government Order is repugnant, inconsistent and contrary to the aforesaid Rules.

(vi) The learned Senior counsel for the petitioner also invited the attention of this Court to Article 246 of The Constitution of India. As per Article 246 (1), power is vested with the Parliament to make laws with respect to any matters enumerated in List I in the VII Schedule. Similarly, under Article 246 (3), power is vested with the Legislature of the State to enact laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List II in the VII Schedule. Admittedly, the provisions under the Act is a list I subject, over which Central Government alone has power to legislate laws relating to environment as per Entry 97 of List I. Further, Article 254 of The Constitution of India deals about inconsistency of laws made by the Parliament and the Legislatures of a State. When the impugned order of the Government relates to environment, which falls within the exclusive domain of the Central Government, the State Government lacks legislative competence to issue the impugned order and therefore, it is null and void.

(vii) The learned Senior counsel for the petitioners placed heavy reliance on Sections 3, 5, 6 and 23 of the Act to drive home the point that there is no absolute delegation of the powers of the Central Government to the State Government in matters relating to environment. Section 5 of the Act confers powers on the Central Government to issue directions and/or delegate powers and performance of its functions under this Act in writing to any person, officer or any authority and such power includes directions for closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process or stoppage or regulation of supply of electricity or water. Section 23 of the Act confers powers to the Central Government to delegate by issuing a specific notification or gazzette publications indicating the conditions and limitations of such delegated powers on the State Government. Thus, according to the learned Senior counsel, there is no absolute delegation of powers in the present case, as has been contemplated under Sections 5 and 23 of the Act in favour of the State Government to issue the impugned order. Further, Rule 4 of The Environment (Protection) Rules clearly sets out as to how the power under Section 5 has to be exercised, as per which Section 5 can be invoked by the State Government to effect closure, prohibit or regulate the process or operation of any industry and not to impose a total ban.

(viii) It is the vehement contention of the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners that Section 5 of the Act starts with a non-obstante clause namely "notwithstanding anything contained in any other law.... however, subject to the provisions of the Act" Thus, exercise of power under Section 5 is qualified with the words "but subject to the provisions of the Act" to mean that Section 5 is subordinate to other provisions of the Act, including Section 3 which deals with the power of the Central Government to take measures to protect and improve the environment. In this regard, the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners placed reliance on the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of Union of India vs. Brigadier PS Gill reported in 2012 (4) SCC 63 wherein it was held that the words "subject to by legislature" would mean that the provision is yielding to another provision. By placing reliance on the above decision, it is submitted that Section 5 is subordinate to other Sections and exercise of powers under Section 5 of the Act cannot be equated with the exercise of powers by the Central Government under Section 3 of the Act. In other words, the powers under Section 5 of the Act cannot be used to exercise the powers available under Section 3 of the Act. Though Section 3(1) of the Act also commences with the words, "subject to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government shall have the power to take all such measures ... ...", in Section 3(2) of the Act, the following words were employed, "... in particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section (1), ....". Such usage of the words by the Legislature as stated above, confers a wider power on the Central Government under Section 3(2) of the Act. Thus, the power under Section 3(2) is wider than the power under Section 3(1) of the Act. Therefore, when Section 5 is subordinate to Section 3 of the Act, the State Government is not competent to impose a total ban by invoking Section 5 of the Act, which says that, " ......subject to the provisions of this Act ....". To buttress this submission, reliance was placed on the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited vs. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India reported in (2014) 3 SCC 222, in which the Supreme Court has explained the real meaning of the words "in particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the provisions" employed by the Legislature. Therefore, the power to regulate by the State Government does not necessarily include the power to prohibit, and ordinarily, the word 'regulate' is not synonymous with the word 'prohibit'. Therefore, the geographical prohibition of any industries or operation or process on a particular class of industry, vest only with the Central Government under Section 3 (2) (v) of the Act and the same cannot be exercised under Section 5 of the Act by the State Government.

(ix) The learned Senior counsel would further contend that Section 6 of the Act also empowers the Central Government to frame Rules to regulate environmental pollution. Further, Section 25 enables the Central Government to frame Rules for carrying out the objects of the Act. Thus, for the purpose of regulating the industries geographically, the Central Government alone is vested with the power under Section 3 (2) (v) of the Act which imposes a restriction of the areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes. The legislature has consciously used the word "industry", "operation" and "process" in Section 5 of the Act whereas in Section 3 of the Act, the words "industries", "operations" and "processes" have been used in plural. Thus, it is evident that the State Government, without any authority of law, has usurped the powers of the Central Government and imposed the ban on industries geographically, to which it is not empowered to. In this regard, reference was made to the decision of this Court in the case of (Puducherry Environmental Protection Association, rep. by its Honorary President, Puducherry vs. Union of India) reported in (2017 SCC Online Madras 7056) = (2017) 8 MLJ 513 wherein this Court has reiterated the powers under Section 3 of the Act and held that the Central Government is well within its powers under Section 3 of the 1986 Act to issue directions to control and/or prevent pollution including directions for prior environmental clearance before a project is commenced. It was further held that protection of environment and prevention of environmental pollution and degradation are non-negotiable. At the same time, the Court cannot altogether ignore the economy of the Nation and the need to protect the livelihood of hundreds of employees employed in projects, which, otherwise comply with or can be made to comply with norms. Thus, it is the contention of the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners that in exercise of power under Section 3 of the Act, the Central Government alone can issue directions to control and regulate the polluting industries over which the State Government has no jurisdiction. The State Government can only issue direction in writing to any person, officer or authority for closure, prohibition or regulation of a particular industry, operation or processes and such powers cannot be invoked for closure, prohibition or regulation of class of industries or industries as a whole, geographically. However, in this case, by invoking the power under Section 5 of the Act, the Government has imposed a total ban or prohibition against industries as a whole, which amounts to excessive delegation and ultra vires of Section 5 of The Act. Further, such ban imposed against the class of industries or trade, had virtually affected the freedom of trade and commerce and it is in violation of Article 301 of The Constitution of India. According to the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners, any such restriction under Article 301 of The Constitution of India can be made by way of framing an Act in accordance with Article 304 (b) of The Constitution of India, which deals with restriction on trade and commerce etc., that too, with the sanction of the President of the Country, as has been held by the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of State of Mysore vs. H. Sanjeeviah reported in 1967 (2) SCR 361. Thus, the State Government is not jurisdictionally competent to invoke Section 5 of the Act to curtail the freedom of trade and commerce when such power to prohibit or close an industry is available as against a single industry. A conjoint reading of Section 5 of the Act and Rule 4 of Environment (Protection) Rules would makes it clear that the invocation of such powers are relatable to issuing a direction to a single or specific or particular industry and not to impose a total ban against a class of industry, geographically. In this context, reference was made to the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of Mohd. Faruk vs. State of M.P., reported in (1969) 1 SCC 853, wherein the Honourable Supreme Court dealt with a Public Interest Litigation against the ban on cow slaughter in the licenced slaughter house on the ground that it infringed the fundamental right of the citizen guaranteed under Articles 14 and 19 (1) (g) of The Constitution.

"8. The power to issue Bye-laws indisputably includes the power to cancel or withdraw the Bye-laws, but the validity of the exercise of the power to issue and to cancel or withdraw the Bye-laws must be adjudged in the light of its impact upon the fundamental rights of persons affected thereby. When the validity of a law placing restriction upon the exercise of fundamental rights in Article 19(1) is challenged, the onus of proving to the satisfaction of the Court that the restriction is reasonable lies upon the State. A law requiring that an act which is inherently dangerous, noxious or injurious to public interest, health or safety or is likely to prove a nuisance to the community, shall be done under a permit or licence of an executive authority, it is not per se unreasonable and no person may claim a licence or permit to do that act as of right. Where the law providing for grant of a licence or a permit confers a discretion upon an administrative authority regulated by rules or principles expressed or implied, and exercisable in consonance with rules of natural justice, it will be presumed to impose a reasonable restriction. Where, however, power is entrusted to an administrative agency to grant or withhold a permit or licence in its uncontrolled discretion, the law ex facie infringes the fundamental right under Article 19(1). Imposition of restriction on the exercise of a fundamental right may be in the form of control or prohibition, but when the exercise of a fundamental right is prohibited, the burden of proving that a total ban on the exercise of the right alone may ensure the maintenance of the general public interest lies heavily upon the State.

......

11. The sentiments of a section of the people may be hurt by permitting slaughter of bulls and bullocks in premises maintained by a local authority. But a prohibition imposed on the exercise of a fundamental right to carry on an occupation, trade or business will not be regarded as reasonable, if it is imposed not in the interest of the general public, but merely to respect the susceptibilities and sentiments of a section of the people whose way of life, belief or thought is not the same as that of the claimant."

(x) The learned Senior counsel for the petitioners also submitted that a reasonable restriction on trade and commerce can be imposed only by way of operation of law and not by way of executive order invoking Article 162 of The Constitution of India. In this context, he placed reliance on the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of Maganbhai Ishwarbhai Patel v. Union of India reported in (1970) 3 SCC 400, wherein it was held as follows:-

"81. The argument raised at the Bar that power to make treaty or to implement a treaty, agreement or convention with a foreign State can only be exercised under authority of law, proceeds upon a misreading of Article 253. Article 253 occurs in Chapter I of Part XI of the Constitution which deals with legislative relations — Distribution of Legislative Powers. By Article 245 the territorial operation of legislative power of the Parliament and the State Legislatures is delimited, and Article 246 distributes legislative power subject-wise between the Parliament and the State Legislatures. Articles 247, 249, 250, 252 and 253 enact some of the exceptions to the rule contained in Article 246. The effect of Article 253 is that if a treaty, agreement or convention with a foreign State deals with a subject within the competence of the State Legislature, the Parliament alone has, notwithstanding Article 246(3), the power to make laws to implement the treaty, agreement or convention or any decision made at any international conference, association or other body. In terms, the Article deals with legislative power: thereby power is conferred upon the Parliament which it may not otherwise possess. But it does not seek to circumscribe the extent of the power conferred by Article 73. If, in consequence of the exercise of executive power, rights of the citizens or others are restricted or infringed, or laws are modified, the exercise of power must be supported by legislation: where there is no such restriction, infringement of the right or modification of the laws, the Executive is competent to exercise the power."

(xi) Next it is contended that the impugned order passed by the Government is in violation of principles of natural justice, inasmuch as individual notices have not been issued as contemplated under Rule 4 of The Environment (Protection) Rules. As per Rule 4, individual notices have to be issued to individual industries, however, no such notice has been issued by the respondents in this case and therefore, the impugned order of the government is ultra vires of Section 5 of the Act as well as Rule 4 of The Environment (Protection) Rules. Even though the impugned order was issued six months ahead of its coming into force, the Government cannot skip the pre-decisional hearing. In fact, in this case, after taking a decision to impose a total ban, the Government has granted six months time and therefore, even if individual notices have been issued and opportunity of hearing was granted, the objections raised by the industries cannot be objectively considered by the Government, since a decision has already been taken.

(xii) It is also contended by the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners that under the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 and Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, the responsibility of the authority is clearly spelt out to deal with plastic products. When already such responsibility has been given to the retailers, local body, Gram Panchayat and State Pollution Control Board, the impugned order of the Government has been passed to wriggle out the responsibilities fixed on the local body etc., in the aforesaid Rules. Thus, the impugned order is passed to circumvent and over reach the responsibility imposed under the aforesaid Rules and it amounts to colourable exercise of power.

(xiii) It is further contended by the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners that the definition given in the impugned government order to define "one time plastic" is not clear and it is vague and bald. Even in the impugned order, the words "use and throwaway plastics" alone are mentioned and the word "one time" is conspicuously absent. The criteria for classifying the product as "use and throw away" plastics is not indicated, rather it is identified by names without any scientific basis. In this regard, reference was made to the notification dated 31.12.2018 issued by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers Department, wherein an expert committee had been constituted to define the term "single use of plastic" in the Indian context and to recommend their usage in other applications, keeping in view the local practices. When the competent expert body has been seized of the matter, the State Government is jurisdictionally incompetent to decide on the definition of one time use of 'use and throw away plastics'. Even the impugned Government Order is virtually vague and ambiguous in dealing with the term 'use and throw away plastics'. In any event, the Government is not justified in imposing a total ban, instead of adopting reasonable restriction in the usage of plastic carry bags. Such imposition of ban is against the fundamental right guaranteed to the petitioners under Article 19 (1) (g) of The Constitution of India. The impugned Government Order was passed under the guise of protecting the environment and on the other hand, it had destroyed the industries whereby it has ruined the economy of the State. In this context, the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners placed reliance on the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of N.D. Jayal vs. Union of India reported in (2004) 9 Supreme Court Cases 362, wherein it was held by the Honourable Supreme Court that while right to environment is a fundamental right, the right to development is also one. By placing reliance on the above decision, the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners prayed for allowing the writ petitions as prayed for.

13. Mr. Radhakrishnan, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner in WP No. 33897 of 2018 relying on a publication titled "Overview of Plastic Management" released by the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi, during June 2013 contended that there are two categories of plastics namely (i) recyclable plastics and non-recyclable plastics. The non-recyclable plastics were ordered to be phased out in two years time as early as 18.03.2016 vide Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 framed by the Government of India. The period stipulated under the said Rules were subsequently extended by two years till 27.03.2010 by bringing an amendment namely Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2016. Curiously, instead of giving effect to the statutory Rules, imposing a ban on non-recyclable plastics manufactured and distributed in the form of multi-layered packaging by the Multi-national Companies, the Government has thought it fit to impose a ban on recyclable plastics manufactured and distributed by the small-scale industries like the petitioner association. According to the learned counsel, proviso (b) to clause 1 (a) and (b) of the impugned Government order exempted the plastic bags which constitute or form an integral part of packaging in which goods are sealed prior to use at manufacturing/ processing units. Therefore, he would contend that proviso (b) to clause 1 (a) and (b) of the notification is arbitrary, unfair, unreasonable, irrational and violative of Articles 14 and 21 of The Constitution of India. The respondent-State appears to have been guided by Article 48-A of The Constitution of India which envisages an obligation on the State to endeavour to protect and improve the environment. However, while imposing the ban by the impugned order, the respondent-State did not make any study to infer the effect of all kinds of plastics which pose danger to the health of the citizens. The manufacturers like the members of the Petitioner Association manufacture only recyclable plastics and those plastics manufactured by the members of the petitioner association were banned. However, the multi-national companies, which manufacture non-recyclable plastics such as multi-layered and laminated plastics, which have the tendency and potentiality to harm the environment, were given exemption. Thus, it is his contention that the Government ought to have banned the non-recyclable plastics first and thereafter, attempted to ban the re-cyclable plastics. The impugned order has been passed only with a view to help the multi-national companies to thrive and make profit. The non-recyclable plastic products, which cause long term damage to the environment were unreasonably exempted and therefore, he would contend that the impugned order is liable to be set aside on the ground of discrimination, arbitrariness and in fragrant violation of Articles 14 and 21 of The Constitution of India.

14. Similar submissions were made by Mr. A. Thiyagarajan, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner in WP No. 34243 of 2018, Mr. K.H. Ravikumar, learned counsel for the petitioner in WP No. 828 of 2019 and Mr. N. Damodaran, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner in WP No. 33770 of 2018 and they prayed for allowing the respective writ petitions as prayed for.

15. (i) Mr. G. Rajagopalan, learned Additional Solicitor General appearing for the Central Government would justify the issuance of the G.O. Ms. No.84, Environment and Forest (EC.2) Department dated 25.06.2018, which is impugned in these batch of writ petitions. According to the learned Additional Solicitor General, the Ministry of Environment and Forest, in its administrative set up, had taken upon the task of overseeing the implementation of planning, promotion, co-ordination and implementation of various environmental and forestry policies and programmes with respect to Forest and Climate Change. For such purpose, the Central Government has prescribed certain authorities for enforcement of the legislative and regulatory measures in the States and Union Territories through the State Pollution Control Boards, Pollution Control Committees, Urban Local Bodies etc., One such piece of Legislation framed was Plastic Manufacture and Usage Rules, 1999 for regulating manufacture and sale of plastic carry bags, which was subsequently superseded by The Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011. Subsequently, the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 was also superseded by virtue of notifying Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 on 18.03.2016 with an intent to regulate the trade and business of manufacturer, importer, stockist, distribution agents, sale and use of carry bags, plastic sheets etc., As per the aforesaid Rules notified on 18.03.2016, the carry bags and plastic packaging shall either be in natural shade which is without any added pigments or made using only those pigments and colourants in conformity with IS 9833 : 1981 titled "list of pigments and colourants for use in plastics in contact with foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and drinking water" as amended from time to time. Further, as per the Rules, the carry bag made of virgin or recycled plastic, shall not be less than fifty microns in thickness. There are several other stipulations contained in the Rules aimed at regulating and controlling the use of plastic in order to save and protect the environment and to minimise the generation of plastic waste. It is his contention that de-hors the provisions contained under the Rules, Articles 48-A and 51-A of The Constitution of India impose an onerous obligation on the State Government to protect and improve the environment and to take measures to safeguard the forest and wildlife in the Country. It is one of the paramount obligations on the part of the State Government to take all necessary steps to ensure that all adequate steps are taken to protect the ecology. Similarly, Article 51-A (g) which falls under the chapter Fundamental duties of the citizens of India, imposes an obligation on each and every citizens of the Country to protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures. Therefore, it is contended that as contemplated under Article 48-A of The Constitution of India, it is obligatory on the part of the State to make an endeavour to protect and improve the environment and it is in that direction, the State Government has passed the order, which is impugned in these writ petitions.

(ii) According to the learned Additional Solicitor General appearing for the Central Government, as contemplated under Article 246 (1), the Central Government is supreme to make law over the subjects enumerated in List I, at the same time, under Article 246 (3), the State/Union Territories enjoy competence to legislate on the entries contained in List II and thus both the Union and the States, under Article 246 (2), have concurrent jurisdiction on Entries contained in List III. At the same time, in the event of any conflict in asserting the jurisdiction, the Central Government alone enjoys a primacy over States. In effect, it is contended by the learned Additional Solicitor General that under Section 23 of the Act, the Central Government has delegated its powers and functions to the State Government for protection of environment and on the strength of the same, the State Government is fully competent to pass the order, which is impugned in these writ petitions. In other words, the State Governments can introduce Regulations for management of plastics either in full or part, either by (i) introducing legislation on waste management or (ii) by issuing directions under Section 5 of the Act to protect the environment. It is also stated that invoking the delegated power under Section 5 of the Act, several States in our country namely (i) Haryana (ii) Uttaranchal (iii) Delhi (iv) Rajasthan (v) Uttar Pradesh (vi) Karnataka (vii) Chattisgarh (vii) Sikkim (ix) Arunachala Pradesh and (xi) Tripura have issued directions prohibiting the use of the "one time use and throw away" plastics and other similar items and in line with the prohibition imposed by the aforesaid neighbouring States, Tamil Nadu Government has followed suit and therefore, the learned Additional Solicitor General appearing for the respondents prayed for dismissal of the writ petitions as devoid of merits.

16. (i) Countering the submissions of the learned counsel appearing for the petitioners, Mr. P.H. Aravindh Pandian, learned Additional Advocate General appearing for the respondents vehemently opposed the relief sought for in these writ petitions. According to the learned Additional Advocate General, the writ petitions are not maintainable, especially when the Government, in order to curb the menace of "one time use and throw away" plastics and other similar products, has taken a policy decision to protect the environment. The ban order was passed with an avowed object of maintaining a clean and green environment and to make the State free from the menace of plastic.

(ii) The learned Additional Advocate General appearing for the respondents also pointed out that a Steering Committee under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu, was constituted, vide G.O. Ms. No.92, Environment and Forest Department, dated 05.07.2018 for the purpose of monitoring the overall implementation of ban on "one time use and throw away" plastics, irrespective of thickness from 01.01.2019. As per the second Steering Committee meeting held on 07.09.2018, it was decided to constitute a Committee to study and furnish a report on compostable properties of paper cups based on the representations received from the Paper Cup Manufacturers' Association and others. Accordingly, a Committee was constituted on 25.09.2018 with officials from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology, Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Limited and Anna University. The Committee, among other things, recommended that in the present scenario, these recyclables are not being recycled due to insufficient mechanism or failure on the part of extended producer responsibility. In effect, it was concluded that Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) coated on paper cups are not easily biodegradable and it may take decades together to get composted. Further, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board had entrusted the task of material identification analysis of plastic coated paper cups to CIPET and as per the results, the samples were identified as "paper substrate coated with ethylene copolymer on inner side" and even though it is coated with plastic, the cups, while being used as well discarded, poses a threat to environment. When the expert body has come to such a conclusion, the learned Additional Advocate General would contend that the ban on paper cups is wholly justified.

(iii) According to the learned Additional Advocate General, G.O. Ms. No.84, Environment and Forest Department dated 25.06.2018 is legally sustainable and is not repugnant or contrary to any other law which is in force. The provisions of the Act have been legislated by the Union Government with power of delegation under Section 23 of the Act. It is in exercise of such delegated power, the Government has issued the order in G.O. Ms. No.84 dated 25.06.2018. It neither falls in the Concurrent List nor is it in conflict with any one of the subjects stated in the fields of list II and it is within the competence of the State Government under Article 254 of The Constitution of India. Unless the subject dealt with by the State is relatable to the fields specified in the Concurrent List, such an act will not be in conflict with the law enacted by the Union Government. The other situation is where the provision of a law made by the Legislature of a State is repugnant to any provision of law made by the Parliament, to which the Parliament alone is competent to enact. Even these two situations of repugnancy are subject to the limitations under Article 254 (2) of The Constitution of India, however, these two situations do not exist in the present case.

(iv) According to the learned Additional Advocate General, the main reason for imposing the ban is that the usage of "use and throw away" plastics had been causing blockage of sewer and drains, apart from polluting water bodies. Therefore, considering the serious environmental hazards and health problems caused due to blockage of the drainage channels, the government, in exercise of the power under Section 5 of the Act, has passed the order in G.O. Ms. No.84 dated 25.06.2018. In this context, the learned Additional Advocate General placed reliance on Section 5 of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and also the notification No. S.O. 152 (E) dated 10.02.1988 issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India. The notification dated 10.02.1988 has been issued by the Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 23 of the Act, thereby, delegated the powers vested in it under Section 5 of the Act. In this context, the learned Additional Advocate General placed reliance on the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board vs. M.V. Nayudu reported in 2001 (2) SCC 62, wherein it was held that prohibiting the industries located in specified areas under the delegated power under Section 5 of the Act, is valid. In fact, another Division Bench of this Court in the order dated 19.12.2018 passed in WP (MD) Nos. 24623, 22327 and 22328 of 2018, had an occasion to consider the validity of the very same order passed by the Government in G.O. Ms. No.84 dated 25.06.2018 which is the subject matter of these writ petitions. The Division Bench of this Court, by referring to the aforesaid Judgment of the Honourable Supreme Court, dismissed the writ petitions. Further, based on the order dated 19.12.2018 in WP (MD) Nos. 24623 of 2018 etc., another Division Bench of this Court dismissed WP Nos. 34065, 39573 and 39574 of 2018 by order dated 27.10.2018. In fact, yet another order dated 03.12.2018 has been passed by this Court in WP (MD) No. 10131 of 2018 with specific direction to ban use of plastics, including non-woven bags. In the said order, a direction was issued to the Commissioner of Madurai Corporation to take action against those who are manufacturing, selling or using non-woven bags. It was further directed that till such time the appropriate Regulations are made consequent to the implementation of the G.O. Ms. No.84, Environment and Forest Department dated 25.06.2018, which is the subject matter of this batch of writ petitions, the Corporation was directed to impose a fine of Rs.500/- on those who are found using the banned plastics.

(v) In fact, as against the impugned order passed by the Government of Tamil Nadu in G.O. Ms. No.84 dated 25.06.2018, an appeal was filed by the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Paper Cup Manufacturers Association before the National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi and it was also dismissed on 28.01.2019. Therefore, when already the validity of the order passed by the Government in G.O. Ms. No.84 dated 25.06.2018 was subjected to challenge before the National Green Tribunal and it was dismissed on 28.01.2019, the present writ petitions are not maintainable.

(vi) The learned Additional Advocate General would further contend that the order in G.O. Ms. No.84 dated 25.06.2018 had been passed after stringent deliberations and comprehensive discussion towards implementing a ban on use and throw away plastics. In this direction, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board had entrusted the task of carrying out a study on implementation of ban of use and throw away of plastics with Indian Institute of Technology. The Indian Institute of Technology has its own expert in any given field and they are competent to deal with the study. Further, the Government of Tamil Nadu constituted a ten-member Steering Committee under the Chairmanship of The Chief Secretary to the Government of Tamil Nadu, vide G.O. Ms. No.92, Environment and Forest Department dated 05.07.2018 with the object of monitoring the over all implementation of ban on "one time use and throw away" plastics irrespective of thickness. In the meeting of the Steering Committee convened on 07.09.2018, it was decided to form a committee to study and furnish report on compostable paper cups based on the representations received from the Paper Cup Manufacturer's Association and others. For this purpose, a Committee was constituted on 25.09.2018 consisting of officials from The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology, Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Limited and Anna University. The Committee, after having deliberations, recommended that there is abundant scope for recycling and co-incineration of single use of plastics such as paper cups, plastic bags, straws etc., but in the given scenario, these recyclables are not being recycled due to insufficient collection mechanism on the part of extended producer liability. It was also decided that Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) coated on paper cups are not easily biodegradable and it may take decades for its decomposition. It is on the basis of the report submitted by the Indian Institute of Technology and taking note of the suggestions given by the experts in the field, the Government proceeded to impose the ban. The government has passed the order, which is impugned in these writ petitions, only to prevent the abuse and use of "use and throw away" plastics and consequentially, to protect the environment. In any event, a policy decision has been taken by the Government to ban certain items of plastics so as to prevent choking of the same in the drainage channel and to save and protect the environment. Even while banning certain products, the Government has also considered certain eco-friendly alternatives to reduce the littering of plastic waste to a considerable extent.

(vii) The learned Additional Advocate General would specifically contended that the plastic paper cups of various sizes were subjected to material identification analysis by the Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology (CIPET) and the results show "paper substrate coated with ethylene copolymer on inner side." Thus, the test report revealed that poly coated paper cups contain 94% paper (cellulose) and 6% LDPE. The test report also revealed that paper cups are paper substrate coated with ethylene/polyvinyl acetate, which is a synthetic polymer and it is not easily degradable under natural environmental conditions. Therefore, it is in correct to state that plastic paper cups were environmental friendly and the arguments advanced in this behalf of by the petitioners deserves to be rejected.

(viii) The learned Additional Advocate General also contends that before giving effect to the ban, the State has given a transition period of six months from 25.06.2018 to 31.12.2018 and during this period, several representations were received from the Tamil Nadu Paper Cup Manufacturers Association, Tamil Nadu Pondicherry Paper Cup Manufactures Association, Tamil Nadu Pondicherry Paper Cup Manufactures Association and Madurai District Paper Cup Manufactures Association seeking a clarification on the order of ban imposed by the government. Based on such representations, the Associations of Plastic Manufacturers were called upon for a personal hearing on 14.11.2018 and during such time, clarifications were made. Some of the Associations have also submitted replies dated 08.12.2018 and therefore, by any stretch of imagination, it cannot be said that the order, which is impugned in these writ petitions, had been passed in violation of principles of natural justice. Further, the contention of the petitioners that the order passed by the Government, which is impugned in these writ petitions, is in violation of Article 19 (1) (g) of The Constitution of India, cannot be countenanced. Article 19 (1) (g) of The Constitution of India deals with the right to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. In this case, the Government, in the larger interest of public, had issued the order imposing ban on "use and throw away" plastics to protect and promote ecological balance. Therefore, in cases of this nature, the question of infringement of fundamental rights guaranteed to a citizen under Articles 14 and 19 (1) (g) of The Constitution of India, will not arise. According to the learned Additional Advocate General, the Government Order, which is impugned in these writ petitions, is not in violation to Article 21 of the Constitution of India, but was passed only to maintain a clean and healthy environment for the subjects of the State. In this context, reliance was placed on the decision of the Supreme Court reported in (Virender Gaur Vs. State of Haryana) reported in 1995 (2) SCC 577, wherein the Supreme Court observed as under explaining the concept of Article 21:

"Article 21 protects right to life as a fundamental right. Enjoyment of life and its attainment including their right to live with human dignity encompasses within its ambit, the protection and preservation of environment, ecological balance free from pollution of air and water, sanitation, without which life cannot be enjoyed. Any contra acts or actions would cause environmental pollution. Environmental, ecological, air, water pollution etc., should be regarded as amounting to violation of Article 21. Therefore, hygienic environment is an integral facet of right to healthy life and it would be impossible to live with human dignity without a humane and healthy environment. Environmental protection, therefore, has now become a matter of grave concern for human existence. Promoting environmental protection implies maintenance of the environment as a whole comprising the man-made and the natural environment. Therefore, there is a constitutional imperative on the State Government and the municipalities, not only to ensure and safeguard proper environment but also an imperative duty to take adequate measures to promote, protect and improve both the man-made and the natural environment."

(ix) By placing reliance on the above decision, it is submitted by the learned Additional Advocate General appearing for the respondents that Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution gives fundamental right to the citizen to practice any profession or carry on any occupation, trade or business. The freedom guaranteed under this Article is not free of restrictions or limitations. Normally, the restrictions can be in two different forms - one by way of reasonable restrictions to which the right is made subject to by the Constitution itself, while the other would be by virtue of law that may be enacted by the State. The State is competent to make laws relating to the professional or technical qualifications necessary for practising any profession or carrying on of any occupation, trade or business. The requirement is that such restriction has to be reasonable and must be as a result of the law enacted by the State. The right to carry on trade is thus not an absolute right but is a conditional right and is subject to such restrictions as may be placed. The Rules of 2011 contemplate certain requirements and restrictions subject to compliance of which a person can be permitted to be registered as a manufacturer, stockist or seller of the plastic goods which Section 5 of the Environment Act provides for reasonable restrictions in the larger public interest and in furtherance to the law enacted by the Parliament. Therefore, the contention that the Government Order, which is impugned in these writ petitions, is an unreasonable restriction is not sustainable. While examining whether the restrictions imposed on the fundamental rights under Article 19(1)(g) are reasonable, one cannot ignore the Directive Principles of State Policy and the Court has to try to strike a just balance between the fundamental rights and the larger interest of the Society. In the present case, this Court has to consider the effect of Article 48-A of the Constitution of India which is a part of the Directive Principles of State Policy.

(x) The learned Additional Advocate General appearing for the respondents placed reliance on the report submitted by the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai titled "Identification of Ecologically Sensitive Areas for Ban on 'Use and Throw Plastics' and identifying alternatives for the same. The report was based on a comprehensive study relating to indiscriminate use of plastic and "one time throw away" plastics and ways and means to overcome the same. It is true that the report suggested banning "use and throw away plastics" in important tourist places. However, after receipt of the report, the Government thought it fit not to confine the ban in areas of tourist importance alone, but to extend it to the whole of the State inasmuch as its impact on the ecological balance is unprecedented and sweeping. Therefore, in the report of the Indian Institute of Technology, it was suggested that given the nature and magnitude of the use of "one time use and throw away" plastics, the manufacturing of those plastic items has to be banned within the State and that the banning of "one time use and throw away" plastic is essential to protect and safeguard the ecology. By placing reliance on the aforesaid report of the Indian Institute of Technology, the learned Additional Advocate General appearing for the respondents would vehemently contend that the argument advanced on behalf of the petitioners that the ban on plastic was imposed by the Government without any scientific study or data, is nothing but an illusion and it has to be rejected.

(xi) As regards the contention of the petitioners that the impugned order of the Government was passed without affording any opportunity of hearing to the stake holders, the learned Additional Advocate General brought to the notice of this Court the letters dated 23.08.2018 and 19.09.2018 written by South India Non Woven Manufacturers Association, Coimbatore to the Minister of Environment seeking certain clarification, which was forwarded to Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, Chennai. In the letters dated 23.08.2018 and 19.09.2018, it was pointed out that non woven fabric is being promoted by the Central Government under the TUF Scheme by the Ministry of Textiles as a Technical Textile and that the fabric was made out of fibre and filements. It was also pointed out that non woven fabric has not been banned anywhere in the world. It was further pointed out that non woven fabric is water permeable and air permeable and therefore, the Government has misconceived that non woven fabric is also a plastic and imposed the ban. By way of reply, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, in the letter dated 08.12.2018 clarified that non woven carry bags are made up of polypropylene, which does not easily degrade in natural environment. Further, by placing reliance on the test report of CIPET, it was further clarified that it is a polypropylene (synthetic plastic) and it is not easily degradable under natural environmental conditions. Therefore, the Pollution Control Board, in the letter dated 08.12.2018, justified the ban on plastics. By pointing out the above letters dated 23.08.2018 and 19.09.2018 and the reply letter dated 08.12.2018, the learned Additional Advocate General would contend that before giving effect to the ban order, almost all the stake holders have been heard and they were given opportunity to putforth their suggestions as well as objections. While so, it cannot be contended that the order, which is impugned in these writ petitions, is passed in violation of principles of natural justice.

(xii) The learned Additional Advocate General appearing for the respondents invited the attention of this Court to the order passed by the Government in G.O. Ms. No.92, Environment and Forests (EC-2) Department dated 10.08.2011, by which an Expert Committee was constituted to check the health and environmental hazard that may be caused due to use of plastics and to find a ways and means to intensify the plastic awareness camps. The committee, after analysing various aspects, submitted its report during November 2012, wherein it was stated as follows:-

Plastic Chemicals (Ex: Phthalates, plasticizer, stearic acid, etc.) have a tendency to get bio accumulated. They are hormone mimicking chemicals which may cause reduction in the fertility rate. Several chemicals such as styrene, plasticizers, anti-oxidants, acetaldehyde tend to migrate from the plastic containers into the food being carried by them. The seven categories of plastic viz., PET, HDPE, PVC, LDPE, PP, PS and others cause varying health effects including skin problems. They are also suspected to be carcinogenic.Due to their non-biodegradable nature, these plastics tend to exist along the road side and other open spaces in tourist areas, residential areas, temple areas and other mass gathering locations, severely affecting the aesthetics of the place.

Most of the time the plastic waste is finding its way into sanitary and storm sewers and blocks the passages. This not only affects the functioning of the drains but also causes water stagnation, which results in the spread of diseases.

Non-recyclable plastic waste gets mixed with the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and makes it unfit for composting.

The plastic wastes tend to get embedded at different depths in soil due to long term disposal and cause reduction in rainfall infiltration and thus ground-water recharge.

(xiii) By placing the above report submitted by the expert committee, the learned Additional Advocate General would contend that the Government order, which is impugned in these writ petitions, has been issued based on scientific study and in pursuit of a clean pollution free environment.

(xiv) It is further contended by the learned Additional Advocate General that G.O.Ms.No.84, dated 25.06.2018 does not impose a blanket ban on plastics but has banned only use and throw away plastics subject to certain reasonable and acceptable exceptions. It is pertinent to note that the said Government Order has categorically enlisted exemptions after careful deliberations and discussion. For the sake of convenience, the exemptions enlisted are extracted below:

(a) The plastic carry bags manufactured exclusively for export purpose against any export orders in a plastic industry located in Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and Export Oriented Units (EOU).

(b) The plastic bags which constitute or form an integral part of packaging in which goods are sealed prior to use at manufacturing/processing units.

(c) The plastic bags and sheets used in Forestry and Horticulture nurseries against the orders from the Government Departments or from the firms concerned.

(d) The plastic used for packing milk and milk products (dairy products), oil, medicine and medical equipment.

(e) Carry bags made from compostable plastics shall bear the lable "compostable" and shall conform to the Indian Standard: IS or ISO 17088 : 2008 titled as Specifications for "Compostable Plastics".

(xv) It is further contended by the learned Additional Advocate General that a policy decision has been taken by the Government to impose a ban on plastics to protect the environment and to ensure a plastic-free state. Whenever such a policy decision is taken, it is likely that some section of the citizens would be affected, but, it is inevitable. When a policy decision has been taken by the Government in the larger interest of public, such decision need not be interfered with by this Court and he prayed for dismissal of the writ petitions.

17. We have heard the submissions of the respective counsel for the petitioners, the learned Assistant Solicitor General for the Central Government and the learned Additional Advocate General for the Government of Tamil Nadu at length and perused the voluminous records produced by the respective parties.

18. In these batch of writ petitions, on behalf of the petitioners, several contentions, which are common, have been raised. Some of the features of the submission of the counsel for the petitioners includes (i) the legislative competence of the State Government to invoke Section 5 of the Act to impose the ban (ii) repugnancy, inconsistency or ambiguity in invoking Section 5 of the Act to impose the ban when Plastic Waste Management Rules is in force (iii) industries which are engaged in manufacturing plastic cups, non woven bags and plastic carry bags have to be closed down leaving several thousands unemployed thereby ruining the economy of the State (iv) the Government, without any scientific study or data has hastily imposed the ban without analysing the impact the ban would cause (v) non-adherence to Rule 4 of The Environment (Protection) Rules which requires individual notices to be served on the individual industry (vi) the ingredients of the products or the decompostable nature of the products have not been taken note of before imposing the ban and (vii) banning recyclable plastic products and granting exemption to non-recyclable plastic items such as multi-layered packs which causes greater harm than the re-cyclable plastics, which amounts to discrimination.

19. Of all these averments made collectively, the foremost among them is the legislative competence of the State to impose the ban by invoking Section 5 of the Act. Therefore, before dealing with this issue, it is necessary to look into the provisions of the Act which are as under:-

"5. Power to give directions:- Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law but subject to the provisions of the Act, the Central Government may, in the exercise of powers and performance under this Act, issue directions in writing to any person, officer or any authority and such person, officer or authority shall be bound to comply with such directions.

Explanation:- For the avoidance of doubts, it is hereby declared that the power to issue directions under this section includes the power to direct-

(a) the closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process; or

(b) stoppage or regulation of the supply of electricity or water or any other service.

......

6. Rules to regulate environmental pollution:- The Central Government may, by notification in the Official gazzette, make rules in respect of all or any of the matters referred to in section 3.

....

23. Power to delegate:- Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (3) of Section 3, the Central Government may, by notification in the official gazzette, delegate, subject to such conditions and limitations as may be specified in the notification, such of its powers and functions under this Act (except the power to constitute an authority under sub-section (3) of section 3 and to make rules under Section 25) as it may deem necessary or expedient, to any officer, State Government or other authority

25. Power to make rules:- (1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official gazzette, make rules for carrying out the purposes of this Act.

(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:-

(a) the standards in excess of which environmental pollutants shall not be discharged or emitted under section 7;

(b) the procedure in accordance with and the safeguards in compliance with which hazardous substances shall be handled or cause to be handled under section 8;

(c) the authorities or agencies to which intimation of the fact of occurrence or apprehension of occurrence of the discharge of any environmental pollutant in excess of the prescribed standards shall be given and to whom all assistance shall be bound to be rendered under sub-section (1) of section 9

(d) the manner in which samples of air, water, soil or other substance for the purpose of analysis shall be taken under sub-section (1) of section 11;

(e) the form in which notice of intention to have a sample analysed shall be served under clause (a) of sub-section (3) of section 11;

(f) the functions of the environmental laboratories, the procedure for the submission of such laboratories of samples of air, water, soil and other substances for analysis or test; the form of laboratory report; the fees payable for such report and other matters to enable such laboratories to carry out the functions under sub-section (2) of section 12;

(g) the qualification of Government Analyst appointed or recognised for the purpose of analysis of samples of air, water, soil or other substances under section 13:

(h) the manner in which notice of the offence and of the intention to make a complaint to the Central Government shall be given under clause (b) of section 19;

(i) the authority or officer to whom any reports, returns, statistics, accounts and other information shall be furnished under Section 20

(j) any other matter which is required to be, or may be, prescribed.

20. It is evident that section 5 of the Act confers upon the Central Government certain powers to issue directions in writing to any person, officer or any authority and such person or officer or authority shall be bound to comply with such directions. Admittedly, the Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 23 of the Act, by notification in S.O. 152 (E) dated 10.02.1988 through the Ministry of Environment and Forest Department delegated the power vested in it to the Government of Tamil Nadu and in exercise of the power of such delegation, the Government of Tamil Nadu has passed the order in G.O. Ms. No.84, Environment and Forest Department dated 25.06.2018, which is impugned in these writ petitions. By virtue of the delegated powers, the State Government, taking note of the nature and magnitude of the excess use of plastic in various forms and manifestations, has directed a scientific study to be made and based on the report submitted by the Indian Institute of Technology, has imposed the ban. However, whether the State Government can impose a total ban by virtue of the delegated authority is widely assailed by the petitioners in these writ petitions. It is to be noted that by virtue of the impugned order, the Government did not impose a blanket ban on plastic but banned only those plastics which are used and thrown away after a single use as well as other plastic items which had the potential to pollute and harm the environment. In other words, plastic is widely used in various forms for various purposes but only those plastics which tend to inflict injury to the environment has been banned. What is curbed is the manufacture, supply, distribution and sale of certain items of plastic in which are used and thrown in bins resulting in choking of drains and blocking the flow of water during monsoon.

21. In this context, useful reference can be made to some of the admissions made by the petitioners in these batch of cases. The petitioner in WP No. 33463 of 2018, in para No.6 (ii) admitted that "Chemical structure of polyethylene prevents it from degrading and it takes several 100 years to degrade, however the non woven fabrics are photo degradable. Polypropylene non woven fabric degrades under the sun light within a very short span of time and sometimes even within 100 days." Similarly, in para No. 7 (ii) of the affidavit filed in support of the petitioner in WP No. 33463 of 2018, it is stated that "The hazards that plastics pose are numerous and the land gets littered by plastic bag garbage presenting an ugly and unhygienic scene. This culture results in finding their way into the City Drainage system which results in blockage, whereas the non woven polypropylene carry bags is only alternate for these plastics. Thus, it is admitted by some of the petitioners herein that unwarranted and unmindful use of plastic is a threat to the environment and therefore, in order to protect the ecology, preventing the use of plastic is imperative.

22. It is seen from the records that one K.K. Ramesh has filed WP (MD) No. 24623 of 2018 before the Division Bench of this Court as a public interest litigation contending that G.O. Ms. No.84 dated 25.06.2018, which is impugned in these writ petitions, has not been implemented in letter and spirit and prayed for a direction to the Government to pass a Special Act or issue a fresh Government Order to curb the menace of single use plastic carry bags. The Division Bench of this Court, by Judgment dated 19.12.2018, referring to the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board, referred to supra, has dismissed the writ petition by holding that the issues raised in the said writ petition has already been answered by the Honourable Supreme Court in the said case. In that writ petition also, the power of the Government to invoke Section 5 of the Act was raised and it was held that by virtue of the delegated powers, the Government is wholly justified in invoking Section 5 of the Act. Relevant portion of the order dated 19.12.2018 reads thus:-

"5. The Issue:- The Core question is as to whether the State of Tamil Nadu was legally correct in issuing the Government Order banning the manufacture and use of plastics, notwithstanding the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 framed by the Central Government invoking Section 3, 6 and 25 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1996.

Discussion:-

6. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 was enacted implementing the decisions taken at the United National Conference on the Human Environment held at Stockholm in June, 1972, in which, India was a participant. It was resolved in the said conference to take effective steps for the protection and improvement of environment and the prevention of hazards to human beings, other living creatures, plants and property. Section of The Environment (Protection) Act, 1996 (hereinafter referred to as the Environment Act) gives power to the Central Government to issue directions, which includes closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process. The power is given to the Central Government, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law. Section 23 of the Environment Act permits the Central Government to delegate such of its powers and functions under the Act, except the power to constitute an authority under sub-section (3) of Section 3 and to make rules under Section 25, to any officer, State Government or other authority.

7. The Ministry of Environment and Forests, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 23 of the Environment Act, delegated the power vested in it under Section 5 of the Environment Act to various State Governments including Tamil Nadu. The notification was issued in S.O. 152 (E) dated 10th February 1999. The notification was published in the Government Gazzette No.84, dated 10th February 1999.

8. The State of Tamil Nadu, in exercise of the power under Section 5 of the Environment Act, issued the Government Order in G.O.(Ms) No. 84, Environment and Forests (EC.2) Department, dated 25 June, 2018, imposing complete ban on the manufacture, storage, supply, sale and use of 'use and throwaway plastics' such as plastic sheets used for food wrapping, spreading on dining table etc., plastic plates, plastic coated tea cups and plastic tumbler, water pouches and packets, plastic straw, plastic carry bag and plastic bags, irrespective of thickness. Explanation 1 to 5 define the term "Plastic", "use and throwaway plastic", "plastic sheet", "carry bag" and "compostable plastic". The Notification will come into force on the first day of January, 2019.

9. The petitioner has taken up a contention on the basis of the Plastics Manufacture, Sale and Usage Rules, 1999 [hereinafter referred to as 'the Central Rules, 1999] framed for regulating the use of plastic, to substantiate his contention that the Government Order has no legislative sanction. There is absolutely no merit in the said contention.

10. The Central Government framed the rules in the name and style of 'Plastics Manufacture, Sale and Usage Rules, 1999', in exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-Section (2) of Section 3 read with Section 25 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

11. Section 3 of the Environment Act gives general powers to the Central Government to take measures to protect and improve environment. This provision is essentially regulatory in nature.

12. Section 5 is a comprehensive provision giving power to the Central Government to direct closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process. The power is not only to regulate but also to prohibit a particular industry or operation or its process. The power is wide enough even to prohibit a particular industry from manufacturing articles for protecting the environment.

13. The Central Rules, 1999, framed under Sub-Section (2) of Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, do not take away the right conferred on the Central Government under Section 5 of the Environment Act or the delegatee to exercise the powers. The theory of occupied filed also would not be attracted on account of the fact that it was only the Central Government who delegated the power under Section 5 of the Environment Act to the State Government. The impugned order has the necessary legislative flavour, in view of the notification issued by the Central Government delegating the powers vested in it under Section 5 of the Environment Act to the State Government. We, therefore, reject the contention that the State Government has no authority to issue an order of this nature.

14. It was the further contention of the petitioner that the State ought to have enacted a law to address the issue relating to use of plastic. The field is occupied by a Central Law, namely the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. There is no question of the State Government enacting a law for prohibition of the manufacture and sale of plastic, in view of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, which was enacted pursuant to the deliberations of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and the delegation of the power to the State Government.

15. The notification issued by the State Government, which is impugned in this Writ Petition, was issued under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, which gives absolute power for prohibition of any industry, closure, or its regulation.

16. The power of the Central Government and its delegatee under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 was considered by the Supreme Court in A.P. Pollution Control Board II v. M.V. Nayudu [MANU/SC/2953/2000 : 2001 (2) SCC 62]. The Supreme Court, while considering the Government Order issued by the State of Andhra Pradesh in G.O. No. 111, dated 08 March, 1996, prohibiting the location of industries in specified areas, referred the notification dated 10 February, 1988 issued by the Central Government delegating the power under Section 5 of the Environment Act to the State Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Orissa, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu. The Supreme Court observed that by virtue of the delegation, the delegated authority could issue order prohibiting the location of industries in specified areas."

23. Subsequently, WP No. 34065 of 2018 has been filed by Tamil Nadu Pondy Plastic Association, through it's President challenging the very same G.O. Ms. No.84 dated 25.06.2018 passed by the Government, which is impugned in these writ petitions. By order dated 27.12.2018, the Division Bench of this Court, by referring to the Judgment of another Division Bench of this Court in the order dated 19.12.2018 passed in WP (MD) No. 24623 of 2018, which relied on the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of (Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board vs. M.V. Nayudu) reported in 2001 (2) SCC 62, dismissed the writ petition filed by the petitioner aforesaid. In Para No.3 of the order dated 27.12.2018 passed in WP (MD) No. 34065 of 2018, it was observed as follows:-

"3. In the light of the above, this writ petition is dismissed. However, while dismissing the writ petition, this Bench is of the view that the Government shall consider phasing out of plastic of any kind in the market including the plastic that have been referred to in proviso to Directions 1 (b) of the aforesaid Government Order before the end of 2019. No costs....."

24. Similarly, yet another Division Bench of this Court in the order dated 03.12.2018 passed in WP (MD) No. 10131 of 2018 in the case of (Yagappa Nagar West Residents Welfare Association vs. The Chief Secretary and others) considered an identical issue wherein the petitioner therein sought for a Mandamus to pass suitable orders to ban the manufacture of plastic materials within the State of Tamil Nadu and the use of such banned materials in Tamil Nadu in any form. The Division Bench of this Court, while passing the order dated 03.12.2018 has also taken note of the order passed by the Government in G.O. Ms. No.84, Environment and Forest Department dated 25.06.2018 and issued the following direction:-

"14. We direct the Commissioner, Madurai Corporation to engage the service of Swatchh Police, Sanitary Inspectors, Health Officers, Assistant Health Officers for conducting regular check up in all the establishments in all the wards within the Madurai Corporation and seize all plastic articles. The Corporation should also take action against those who are manufacturing, selling or using non-woven bags. Till appropriate regulations are made, consequent to the implementation of the Government Order in G.O. (Ms) No.84, Environment and Forests (EC-2) Department dated 25.06.2018, the Corporation must impose a fine of Rs.500/- (Rupees Five Hundred Only) on those who are found using the banned plastics for the first time. In case the violation is repeated, the Corporation shall take action for suspension of the licence, by following due process. The expenses in connection with the disposal of the seized plastic items should also be collected from the violators."

25. Therefore, it is evident that similar writ petitions challenging the validity of G.O. Ms. No.84 dated 25.06.2018 has been filed before this Court and they were dismissed by various coordinate bench of this Court by upholding the validity of the Government Order dated 25.06.2018.

26. It is also seen from the records that on 07.01.2019, notification under Section 5 of the Act was issued by the Government of NCT, Delhi imposing ban on plastic carry bags within certified notified areas in Delhi. The notification dated 07.01.2019 was challenged before the Delhi High Court in WPC No. 883 of 2019 by the All India Plastic Industries Association. The writ petition was dismissed on 14.07.2019 wherein in para No.44, it was held as follows:-

"44. The impact of all this is that the action taken by the Delhi Government, namely the issuance of the notification dated 07.01.2019 is a direct consequence of the decision of this Court and if the petitioners have any grievance in this regard, as we have said above, their remedy lies elsewhere, certainly not in another writ petition."

27. Challenging the order dated 14.07.2019 passed by the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court, Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 30714 of 2019 was filed before the Honourable Supreme Court. Since the Government of Delhi has withdrawn the notification dated 07.01.2019 and issued another comprehensive notification, SLP (Civil) No. 30714 of 2019 was dismissed as withdrawn.

28. In the order dated 13.01.2017 passed by the National Green Tribunal in Appeal Nos. 117 of 2016 etc., in (K.K. Plastic Waste Management Private Limited and others vs. The State of Karnataka and others) it was held as follows:-

"83. There is one other aspect viz., if delegated authority of the powers of the Central Government under Section 5 as per Section 23 of the EP Act is a State Government, such direction can be issued by the State Government only in respect of the territorial jurisdiction of that State. Only in that way, the delegated power has got significance, since otherwise the nature of power under Section 5 of the Central Government and the delegated State Government is one and the same and the validity of such direction can be tested in the touch stone of the provisions of the EP Act. Consequently, it is clear that both the powers of the Central Government, as stated above, are in different fields and one is not inconsistent with the other and by issuing a direction under Section 5 of the EP Act one cannot jump to a conclusion that the same is in violation of the rule making power of the Central Government under Sections 3, 6 read with 25 of the EP Act. That is exactly one of the dictum laid down by the Principal Bench of the NGT in Goodwill Plastic Industries case."

29. Similarly, the Jabalpur bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in the order dated 06.09.2018 passed in WP No. 8182 of 2017 etc., in the case of (Popular Plastic and others vs. State of Madhya Pradesh and others) held as follows:-

"29. In addition to the previous sanction of the President, the Central Government has delegated its powers under Section 23 of the Central Act to certain State Governments including the State of Madhya Pradesh. Section 5 of the Central Act authorises Central Government to issue direction for the closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process. Once the Central Government has delegated its powers as is conferred on it under Section 5, the State Act is a valid piece of legislation in terms of delegation of the Central Government as well to direct the closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process; which would include prohibition to use carry bags. Therefore, the State Act cannot be said to be beyond the legislative competence of the State Legislature.

.....

33. The Central Rules were enacted to give thrust on plastic waste minimization, source segregation, recycling, involving waste pickers, recyclers and waste processors in collection of plastic waste fraction either from households or any other source of its generation or intermediate material recovery facility and adopt polluter's pay principle for the sustainability of the waste management system, whereas, the State Act goes a step ahead and instead of minimization of plastic waste, intends to achieve plastic elimination. Therefore, the State Law is not irreconcilable with the Central law as the State Act goes a step further than the Central law, which deals with minimization of plastic waste, whereas the State Act deals with elimination of plastic waste. May be; the Central Government, considering the conditions prevailing in the country has taken steps for minimization of plastic waste but if the State takes steps to eliminate the plastic waste, such act cannot be said to be irreconcilable to the Central law. Therefore, within the State, both the Central law and the State law can be read harmoniously, as the State law is a step forward than what has been prohibited by the Central law. Therefore, approving the reasoning of the National Green Tribunal in Goodwill Plastic Industries (supra), we find that the State law is not contrary to the Central law.

34. We also approve the reasoning recorded by the National Green Tribunal in its order in Goodwill Plastic Industries (supra) that the notification prohibiting use of plastic bags and Rules of 2011, which has since been replaced by the Central Rules do not cover exactly the same field. The substance and spirit is quite distinct and different of the two provisions of law. The State Act prohibits manufacturing, storage, sale and use of plastic carry bags in the interest of environment whereas the Central Rules permit to carry on the business of manufacturing, storing and selling of various plastic and polythene items. Therefore, the notification published under the State Act prohibits manufacturing, storing, sale, transportation and use of polythene bags whereas the Central Rules regulate the manufacturing, storing and selling of plastic bags. Thus, the scope of the two provisions is different and there is no inconsistency between the two states. Still further, the Central Rules permit carry bags of 50 microns or more and the notification under the State Act prohibits the carry bags is reconcilable. The manufacturer is required to obtain permission to manufacture plastic bags in the State. The State law is to achieve the larger public interest in the interest of environment for the benefit of the public at large, whereas, the Central Rules deal with the business interest of the manufacturer of the plastic bags and between the two, the larger public interest is required to be preferred."

30. Further, a fitting answer has been given as to whether the State Government is legislatively competent to issue a ban order on plastics in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 5 of the Act by the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board vs. M.V. Nayudu reported in (2001) (2) Supreme Court Cases 62 wherein it was categorically held that the Government of Andhra Pradesh, by virtue of the delegated powers conferred in exercise of Section 5 of the Act is empowered to issue order prohibiting the location of industries in specified areas. In the present case also, the order was passed by the Government, in exercise of the power conferred under Section 5 of the Act, with a view to curb the menace of one time use and throwaway plastics and other similar products, by taking a policy decision, in the larger interest of public and therefore it is well founded. When a policy decision was taken by the Government, judicial review over such decision is legally impermissible. This was the ratio laid down by the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of (Bajaj Hindustan Limited vs. Sir Shadi Lal Enterprises Limited and another) reported in (2011) 1 Supreme Court Cases 640. In Para Nos. 39 and 40 of the said decision, it was held as follows:-

"39. We should not be understood to have meant that the judiciary should never interfere with administrative decisions. However, such interference should be only within narrow limits eg., when there is clear violation of the statute or a constitutional provision, or there is arbitrariness in the Wednesbury sense. It is the administrators and legislators who are entitled to frame policies and take such administrative decisions as they think necessary in the public interest. The Court should not ordinarily interfere with policy decisions, unless clearly illegal.

40. Economic and fiscal regulatory measures are a field where Judges should encroach upon very warily as Judges are not experts in these matters. The impugned policy parameters were fixed by experts in the Central Government, and it is not ordinarily open to this Court to sit in appeal over the decisions of these experts. We have not been shown any violation of law in the impugned notification or press note."

31. The learned Additional Advocate General appearing for the respondents relied on a compilation of report/documents/articles to bring to the notice of this Court the Countries that have banned use and throw away plastics, the programmes chalked out by several Countries proposing to ban plastics and the impending danger it is likely to cause to the environment. In one of the reports filed "United Nation Environment with the title "single use plastics - a road map for sustainability" Sir. Erik Solheim, in his Foreword opined as follows:-

"....But what makes plastic so convenient in our day to day lives - it's cheap - also makes it ubiquitous, resulting in one of our planet's greatest environmental challenges. Our oceans have been used as a dumping ground, choking marine life and transforming some marine areas into a plastic soup. In cities around the world, plastic waste clogs drains, causing floods and breeding disease. Consumed by livestock, it also finds its way into the food chain.

Plastic packaging accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste globally, and much of it is thrown away within just a few minutes of its first use. Much plastic may be single use, but that does not mean it is easily disposable. When discarded in landfills or in the environment, plastics can take up to a thousand years to decompose.

The good news is that a growing number of government are taking action and demonstrating that all nations, whether rich or poor, can become global environmental leaders. Rwanda, a pioneer in banning single-use plastic bags, is now one of the cleanest nations on earth. Kenya has followed suit, helping clear its iconic national parks and save its cows from an unhealthy diet.

Learning from the experience of countries that have introduced bans and regulations on single-use plastics, this assessment analyses what has worked well, what hasn't and why. The report is therefore a tool for policy makers who intend to introduce measures to regulate the production and use of disposable plastics....."32. Therefore, it is evident that the menace of one time use and throw away plastic is felt throughout the World and the environmentalists are keeping their fingers crossed to tackle it's use and/or taking steps to reduce the solid waste generated. Therefore, we feel that in the large interest of public, the State Government, in discharge of it's obligations enumerated under Article 246 of The Constitution of India, invoked the delegated powers vested in it by the Central Government under Section 5 of the Act, to which the State Government is legislatively competent to do so. It is needless to mention that except the rule making power of the Central Government, including the power to constitute an authority under Section 3 (3) of the Act, all other powers can be delegated. Accordingly, by virtue of the delegated powers, the State Government has passed the order, which is impugned in these writ petitions. Section 5 of The Environment Protection Act, 1986 starts with the word "notwithstanding anything contained in any other law" and therefore, the power conferred upon the State Government has an over-riding effect on any other law. The only condition imposed in Section 5 is that it should be "subject to the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986" meaning thereby that any power issued under Section 5 cannot be contrary to any of the Sections of the Act. Even assuming that the power of the State Government is not traceable under Section 5 of the Act, still, the source of power for the Government is traceable to Article 256 of The Constitution of India, which confers exclusive power on the Government to deal with certain subject morefully enumerated in List III of Seventh Schedule of The Constitution of India.

33. Further, it is vehemently contended on behalf of the petitioners that the word 'industry' employed in Section 5 of the Act will confer power on the State Government to resort to closure, prohibit or regulate only a particular industry after issuing notice intimating the proposed action. However, by virtue of the delegated powers, the State Government has issued the impugned order and thereby closed all the industries which are engaged in manufacture, production, process or operation relating to plastics, Thus, according to the petitioners, the impugned order of closure is contrary to the term 'industry' indicated in Section 5 of the Act and that the order of ban was passed without any authority of law.

34. The learned Additional Advocate General appearing for the respondents, however, opposed the contentions of the petitioners by stating that the word 'industry' employed in Section 5 would mean and include a class of industry such as cement industry, textile industry, automobile industry etc., and it is not referable to a single unit or manufacturer as contended by the petitioners. Therefore, according to the learned Additional Advocate General, the State Government is wholly justified in imposing the ban on industries dealing with plastics by virtue of the powers conferred under Section 5 of the Act.

35. At the outset, the contention raised on behalf of the petitioners that the Government, in exercise of power under Section 5 of the Act, can resort to closure or prohibit or restrict the operation of a particular industry and not the industries in the State as a whole cannot be countenanced. First of all, the word 'industry' has not been employed under Section 5 of the Act so as to give it a restricted meaning. Secondly, the word 'industry' has been only employed under the explanation to Section 5 of the Act by way of clarification. Even otherwise, the State Government has taken a policy decision to ban one time use and throw away plastics and other similar items of plastics with a view to safeguard the environment from being polluted. In such circumstances, the State Government cannot be expected to restrict the process, operation or manufacture of plastics in any given locality in the State leaving the other areas out of the purview of the ban. Therefore, if a harmonious interpretation is given to the word 'industry' employed in the explanation to Section 5 of the Act, we can only conclude that the word 'industry' is referrable to a class of or group of industries dealing in a specified product and at no stretch of imagination, it is referrable to a single unit or a manufacturing industry. In any event, the power exercisable on the part of the Government under Section 5 is very wide and it cannot be curtailed or restricted to in respect of a particular class of industry. The word 'industry' employed in Section 5 of the Act must be construed both in the context of it's usage in singular as well as plural. In fact, Section 13 (2) of The General Clauses Act states that the words in singular shall include plural and vice-versa. Therefore also, we see no merits in the contentions urged on behalf of the petitioners that the word 'industry' appearing in Explanation to Section 5 confers power to the Government to impose ban only on a particular industry and not to resort to closure of the industries in the State as a whole. Therefore, we reject the argument advanced on behalf of the petitioners as to the legislative competence of the State Government to issue the order, which is impugned in these writ petitions. Consequently, we hold that the State Government is wholly justified in imposing the ban in exercise of the power under Section 5 of the Act.

36. Even otherwise, Article 48-A of The Constitution of India emphasises and imposes an obligation on the State Government to endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the Country. In discharge of such an obligation imposed on the part of the State Government under Article 48-A of The Constitution of India, the Government is wholly justified in imposing the ban on one time use and throw away plastics. Even otherwise, the State Government is empowered to deal with certain business exclusively, which are morefully set out in Entry 6 - List - II of the Seventh Schedule to Article 246 of The Constitution of India and they include, inter alia, public health and sanitation, hospitals and dispensaries. In the present case, the State Government has passed the order dated 25.06.2018 keeping in view the menace caused by one time use and throw away plastics and to upkeep the public health and sanitation. It is needless to mention that if the burgeoning use of plastic goes unchecked, it would result in over flowing of plastic garbage in water bodies and choking the public drains, which would not only be an eye sore but also would result in spreading of sporadic diseases. As the continued and unwarranted use of plastic has caused a menace and resulted in mounting garbage, taking note of the fact that the plastic wastes tend to get embedded at different depths in soil due to long term disposal and cause reduction in rainfall infiltration and ground water discharge, interalia to reduce solid waste, the State Government has passed the order dated 25.06.2018, which we feel is absolutely necessary. The Government had taken note of the fact that most of the plastics carry bags are thrown to bin soon after its intended use and had flooded the drains which are non-biodegradable in nature, which according to the learned Additional Advocate General has necessitated the ban.

37. Having regard to the submissions of the learned counsel for both sides, with respect to the validity and/or correctness of the ban imposed on carry bags, we are of the view that even assuming that the government has not clarified as to what constitute a 'one time use and throw away' plastics, it is needless to mention that the plastic carry bags manufactured and used is intended for a single use and not more than that. Admittedly, these carry bags cannot be used multiple times and they will be sent to the dumping yard soon after its intended single use. We take judicial notice of the fact that these carry bags have the tendency to cause harm to the water bodies and has the potentiality to pollute the environment.

Non Woven Carry Bags:-

38. It is the vehement contention of the petitioners that non woven carry bag is made up of a fabric which is classified as "Technical Textile" by the Ministry of Textile, Government of India and there is no fixed percentage of polypropylene during the process of manufacture of these bags. The filler which is added with polypropylene is produced from limestone (natural ore) and these bags cannot be branded as a one time use and throw away plastic. The non woven carry bags made of polyethylene granules by spun bonding similar to polyster filaments used in the manufacturing of sarees, shirts etc., In fact, during the course of hearing in these batch of writ petitions, Mr. P.S. Raman, learned Senior counsel demonstrated before this Court as to why and how these bags will not block or chock the drains as they are porous with water and air permeability. It is further stated that polypropylene bags can be recycled with accruing economic benefits. According to the petitioners, the non woven carry bags are 100% eco friendly. It is their contention that the Government can resort to regulate the ratio of percentage of polyethylene in non woven carry bags by fixing the gsm, however, it is wholly unjustified and not warranted to totally prohibit the industry in its entirety throwing thousands of workers jobless.

39. In reply, the learned Additional Advocate General appearing for the respondents would at the outset contend that the very same argument raised on behalf of the manufacturers of non woven plastic bags has been raised before the Delhi High Court in WP (C) No. 8120 of 2019 and by judgment dated 28.08.2019 (in the case of Praveen Mittal vs. Department of Environment) the Delhi High Court dismissed the plea. Further, the non woven carry bags were banned on the basis of a scientific study with respect to it's harmful effect. As per the study undertaken by the respondents, the polypropylene fibers contained in these bags are harmful, as they are liberated into the environment with every use. They are non-biodegradable and eventually break into small particles called 'Micro plastics'. The microfiber pollution caused by these bags is poisoning the oceans and getting into the food chain. Above all, during the manufacturing process, in order to make the bags stronger, fillers such as calcium carbonate, colouring agents and other free polymers are added, which makes it difficult to recycle the plastic. The robustness of non woven polypropylene bag is worse than textile fabrics and at high temperatures, the polypropylene will release harmful substances and if it is used for a longer period with slow degradation process, the potential crisis is much harmful than plastic bags and may become another great pollution source as plastic bags. Further, as per the test report submitted by CIPET, the sample is identified as "Polypropylene, a synthetic plastic which is spun into fibers and bonded together by chemical or solvent treatment as non-woven fabric. At any rate, according to the learned Additional Advocate General, non woven polypropylene is not biodegradable or compostable and it may take many years to break down in the environment. Therefore, it is submitted that non-woven is not a substitute for plastic but it is more harmful than the plastic itself.

40. We have considered the rival submissions with respect to the ban on non woven carry bags. Even according to the petitioners, they have admitted that polypropylene non woven fabric degrades under the sun light within a very short span of time and some times even within 100 days, meaning thereby, it is not easily biodegradable or compostable and it had the tendency and potential to cause reduction in rainfall infiltration and ground water discharge. When that be so, we see no reason to accept the plea of the counsel for the petitioners that non woven carry bags are eco friendly and that no harm can be caused in allowing it to be used. It is also an admitted fact that before issuing a ban on non woven plastic bags, a scientific analysis was done and based on the report submitted by CIPET, the Government, in it's wisdom, has chosen to impose a ban on these bags. In fact, on behalf of the petitioners, a plea was raised that these bags are eco friendly and are alternative for plastic bags. However, this was denied by the respondents by contending that the colouring agents and other free polymers used during the process of the bags will make these bags difficult to recycle and that it is not biodegradable or compostable. Having regard to these rival submissions with regard to the technical aspects as regards the process of manufacturing, the ingredients used for manufacturing the product and the threat these bags are likely to cause to the ecology, we are of the view that this Court is not an expert in the field and we lack the requisite expertise. In this context, reference can be made to the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of (Secretary and Curator, Victoria Memorial Hall vs. Howra Ganatantrik Nagrik Samity and others) reported in (2010) 3 Supreme Court Cases 732 wherein it was held as follows:-

"37. The Constitution Bench of this Court in University of Mysore vs. C.D. Govinda Rao (AIR 1965 SC 491) held that (AIR p.496, para 13) normally the Courts should be slow to interfere with the opinions expressed by the experts. It would normally be wise and safe for the Courts to leave the decision to experts who are more familiar with the problems they face than the courts generally can be. This view has consistently been reiterated by this Court as is evident from the judgments in State of Bihar vs. Dr. Asis Kumar Mukherjee (1975) 3 SCC 602, Dalpat Abasaheb Solunke vs. Dr. B.S. Mahajan (1990) 1 SCC 305; Dr. B.S. Mahajan, Central Areca Nut & Cocoa Mktg., & Processing Coop Ltd., vs. State of Karnataka (1997) 8 SCC 31 and Dental Council of India vs. Subharti K. K.B. Charitable Trust ((2001) 5 SCC 486.

41. Similarly, in (Basavaiah (Dr) vs. Dr. H.L. Ramesh and others) reported in (2010) 8 Supreme Court Cases 372 it was held by the Honourable Supreme Court that the Courts have to show deference and consideration to the recommendation of an Expert Committee consisting of experts in the field. In effect, it was held that in matters involving technicalities or matters which are in the exclusive domain of academicians or expert body, the interference of the Courts has to be restricted and judicial review is impermissible.

42. In the light of the above decisions of the Honourable Supreme Court, we are not inclined to enter into an arena, which has to be left with the experts in the field for a decision. Even otherwise, it is contended by the respondents that Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board had entrusted the task of identifying the materials used in the process of manufacturing non woven bags to CIPET and the results indicate that non woven polypropylene is not biodegradable or compostable and may take many years to break down in the environment. The results also indicate that the re-usability of these bags also carries with it the risk of pathogenic transmission. In such view of the matter, we are of the view that such disputed questions cannot be gone into in these writ petitions filed under Article 226 of The Constitution of India. Therefore the relief prayed for by the petitioners to lift the ban in respect of non woven carry bags deserve only to be rejected.

Paper Cups

43. It is the vehement contention of the petitioners that the composition of each paper cup includes 94% of food grade paper with only 6% of Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) coating and the base paper boards are made by adopting environmental friendly and hygienic methods that avoids the use of bleach and other harmful Optical Brightening Agents (OBA). Therefore, it is contended that paper cups are considered as a convenient and hygienic way of consuming hot and cold drinks. In effect, it is contended that paper cups are predominantly made of papers and it contain a minimal percentage of plastic and therefore, it ought not to have been banned by the Government.

44. We see no force in the submission made on behalf of the petitioners, who are manufacturers of plastic cups. Admittedly, plastic cups are intended only for a single use. These plastic cups cannot be used more than once. Immediately after its intended use, it is being thrown into the bin at the drop of a hat. These plastic cups are used indiscriminately for the purposes other than to which they are intended to, with the result, these paper cups accumulates in huge quantities in the ground. The volumnious paper cups used and thrown after a single use is certainly an eye sore. According to the respondents, these papers cups are difficult to be composted and it may seriously impair the environment. When the intended use of these plastic cups is to consume tea/coffee only once, it satisfies the definition 'one time use and throw away plastics'. If the manufacture, sale and the consequential discarding of these paper cups are allowed, it only do more harm than good to the ecology. Therefore, we feel that the Government is wholly justified in banning paper plastic cups as a measure of protecting the environment.

Carry Bags:-

45. On behalf of the petitioners, it is vehemently contended that the impugned order passed by the Government lacks clarity in not defining the word "one time use and throw away" plastics. The criteria for classifying the products as "one time use and throw away" plastics is not clearly and definitely stated in the impugned order, rather, the products are identified by names without any scientific basis. In fact, under the Plastic Waste Management Rules, carry bags above 50 microns in thickness is permitted to be manufactured, used and distributed and the products manufactured by the petitioners is in accordance with the Plastic Waste Management Rules. Since the Government is unable to decide on the definition of "one time use and throw away" plastics so far, the impugned order of the Government has to be set aside on the ground of vagueness and ambiguity.

46. Countering such submissions, the learned Additional Advocate General appearing for the respondents would contend that the "one time use and throw away" plastics, by its very nature are meant only for a single use and it cannot be used more than once. These plastic carry bags are indiscriminately used for the purposes for which they are not intended and it resulted in mounting of these carry bags in the garbage dump yard. Therefore, the learned Additional Advocate General would justify the order, which is impugned in these writ petitions, with reference to the ban on one time use and throw away plastic carry bags.

47. Admittedly, the carry bags which are manufactured by the petitioners are meant for a single use. These one time use and throw away plastics carry with it the menace of polluting the water bodies and choking the drains. Therefore, these carry bags, which are intended for a single use, can be construed and regarded as one time use and throw away plastics, which have to be banned in the larger interest of protecting our environment. It is to be observed that these plastic carry bags were invented for the convenience of the users, however, by virtue of its continued and unwarranted use, they have become man made miseries, causing a havoc to environment.

Repugnancy:-

48. Mr. Wilson, learned Senior Counsel as well as Mr. Kundan Kumar Mishra, learned counsel appearing for some of the petitioners would harp upon contending that the impugned order of the Government is inconsistent with and is repugnant to Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. According to the learned counsels, the Central Rules permit carry bags made of virgin or recycled plastics of not less than 50 microns in thickness, however, by the impugned order, the State Government has prohibited manufacture, sale, transportation and use of plastic bags of less than 50 microns. When the Central Rules namely Environment Protection Rules permit plastic carry bags made of virgin or recycled plastics of not less than 50 microns in thickness, the State Government, in contravention of the said Rules, imposed unreasonable restriction and hence it is repugnant. It is also vehemently contended on behalf of the petitioners that when a statutory Rule, namely Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, is in force, it cannot be superseded by an executive instructions in the form of Government Order and therefore, the learned counsel pitched for setting aside the order, which is impugned in these writ petitions.

49. Countering the submissions of the learned counsels, the learned Additional Advocate General would contend that the impugned order has not over reached or superseded the Plastic Waste Management Rules, as contended. The plea of repugnancy can arise only if there is clear and direct inconsistency between the Central Act and State Act. There is no direct collision between the Plastic Waste Management Rules and that of the instructions issued by virtue of the order dated 25.06.2018 of the Government, which is impugned in these writ petitions. In this context, the learned Additional Advocate General placed reliance on the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of (M. Karunanidhi vs. Union of India and another) reported in (1979) 3 Supreme Court Cases 431 wherein it was held that the plea of repugnancy will arise only if the following conditions are satisfied and they are (i) There is clear and direct inconsistency between the Central Act and the State Act (ii) such inconsistency is absolutely irreconcilable and (iii) the inconsistency between the provisions of the two Acts is of such a nature as to bring the two Acts into direct collision with each other and a situation is reached where it is impossible to obey the one without disobeying the other. The learned Additional Advocate General also relied on the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of K.T. Plantation Pvt Ltd., and another vs. State of Karnataka reported in (2011 (9) Supreme Court Cases 1 wherein it was held that repugnancy between two statutes would arise only if there is a direct conflict between the two provisions of law, one made by the Parliament and the other enacted by the State legislature, occupying the same field and covering the same subject matter. Useful reference can be made to the said Judgment, which reads as follows:-

"When the repugnancy between the Central and State legislature is pleaded, we have to first examine whether the two legislations cover or relate to the same subject matter. The test for determining the same is to find out the dominant intention of the two legislations and if the dominant intention of the two legislations is different, they cover different subject matter then merely because the two legislations refer to some allied or cognate subjects, they do not cover the same field. A provision in one legislation to give effect to its dominant purpose may incidentally be on the same subject as covered by the provision of the other legislation, but such partial coverage of the same area in a different context and to achieve a different purpose does not bring about the repugnancy which is intended to be covered by Article 254 (2). In other words, both the legislations must be substantially on the same subject to attract Article 254.

50. Keeping in view the parameters laid down by the Honourable Supreme Court in the above decision, we proceed to consider as to whether the order, which is impugned in these writ petitions, is repugnant to the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. Before proceeding to consider the above, it is relevant to refer to Article 254 of The Constitution of India, which reads as follows:-

"254. Inconsistency between laws made by Parliament and laws made by the Legislatures of States:- (1) If any provision of a law made by the Legislature of a State is repugnant to any provision of a law made by Parliament, which Parliament is competent to enact, or to any provision of an existing law with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the concurrent list, then, subject to the provisions of clause (2), the law made by parliament, whether passed before or after the law made by the Legislature of such State, or, as the case may be, the existing law, shall prevail and the law made by the Legislature of the State shall, to the extent of the repugnancy, be void.

(2) Where a law made by the Legislature of a State with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent List contains any provision, repugnant to the provisions of an earlier law made by the Parliament or an existing law with respect to that matter, then, the law so made by the Legislature of such State shall, if it has been reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent, prevail in that State;

Provided that nothing in this clause shall prevent Parliament from enacting at any time any law with respect to the same matter including a law adding to, amending, varying or repealing the law so made by the Legislature of the State."

51. The Central Government, in exercise of powers conferred by Sections 3, 6 and 25 of The Act, by notification dated 18.03.2016 notified Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 by superseding Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2011 and its amendments. As per Rule 2 of The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, these rules shall apply to every waste generator, local body, Gram Panchayat, manufacturer, importers and producers of plastic. Rule 3 (c) defines 'carry bags' which mean bags made from plastic material or compostable plastic material, used for the purpose of carrying or dispensing commodities which have a self carrying feature, but do not include bags that constitute or form an integral part of the packaging in which goods are sealed prior to use. Rule 6 imposes responsibility on the local body for development and setting up of infrastructure for segregation, collection, storage, transportation, processing and disposal of the plastic waste either on its own or by engaging agencies or producers. Similar responsibility was fixed on Gram Panchayat under Rule 7, Waste generator under Rule 8 and producers, importers and brand owners under Rule 9. Rule 14 also fixes responsibility on the part of retailers and street vendors not to sell or provide commodities to consumer in carry bags or plastic sheet or multi-layered packaging, which are not manufactured and labelled or marked as prescribed under these Rules. Under Rule 16, the task of monitoring of implementation of these Rules was vested with a State Level Monitoring Committee consisting of it's Chairman and members. Therefore, by quoting the provisions contained under these Rules, it is vehemently contended that the impugned order passed by the Government, in effect, has superseded the statutory Rule and it is legally not sustainable.

52. We are not in a position to accept the aforesaid submissions made on behalf of the petitioners. It is noteworthy to mention that by virtue of the Government Order, which is impugned in these writ petitions, the statutory provisions contained under The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 were not superseded or made redundant. The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 still holds good and the provisions contained therein will bind the local body, gram panchayat, waste generator etc., The responsibility imposed upon the local body, gram panchayat or waste generator in the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 does not cease. By virtue of the impugned order, only certain plastic items, which are used as one time use and throw away plastics are banned from being produced, transported and sold. Such a prohibition came to be imposed taking note of the large scale production and the occupation of these one time carry bags in the land fills. There are several forms of plastics manufactured and produced and they are left untouched. What was sought to be curbed is the one time use and throw away plastics. The similar other plastic items which are produced are regulated and governed by the The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 enacted by the Central Government. Out of those plastic products, the one time use and throw away plastics and other such plastics, which are defined as hazardous to the ecology, has alone been prohibited by virtue of the order, which is impugned in these writ petitions. Therefore, at no stretch of imagination it could be said that the Plastic Waste Management Rules has been overwritten by the Government by issuing the impugned order in exercise of their executive powers. Even though the Central Act namely Plastic Waste Management Rules contains certain provisions for collection, regulation, segregation and management of plastic waste generated, the Government went one step ahead to completely ban the manufacture, supply and sale of some items of plastics taking note of the adverse impact it will cause to our ecology. The impugned order passed by the Government, therefore, is not in any manner repugnant to or inconsistent with The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. When the impugned order does not in any way intrude into or operate as an obstacle for invocation of the provisions contained under The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, Article 254 of The Constitution will not apply. Further, Article 243W imposes certain powers, authority and responsibilities of municipalities to enable them to function as institutions of self-government and for such purpose, certain powers were devolved upon them. By virtue of such powers conferred under Article 243W of The Constitution and to effectively carry out the obligations vested in the Government, the order, which is impugned in these writ petitions, is necessary in public interest. In any event, we do not find that the order passed by the Government, which is impugned in these writ petitions, has in any manner transgressed into or superseded the provisions of The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

Whether violative of principles of natural justice:-

53. It is the vehement contention of the petitioners that a post-decisional hearing was given to them by the Government and it will not be in compliance of the principles of natural justice. Therefore, according to the petitioners, the impugned order has to be set aside as it was passed without affording an opportunity to them in violation of Rule 4 of The Environment (Protection) Rules which mandates serving of individual notice to the industrial establishment.

54. The learned Additional Advocate General would contend that even though the order, which is impugned in these writ petitions, was passed on 25.06.2018, it was given effect to only after a breathing time of six months from 01.01.2019. In the meantime, the Government has given wide publicity with reference to the proposed ban, both in the electronic and print media bringing to the notice of the public the intended and proposed ban on one time use and throw away plastics. Admittedly, some of the petitioners, either individually or through their Association have submitted objections for the ban on various reasons and they were heard and their objections were rejected. Therefore, it cannot be said that the impugned order has been passed without affording opportunity to the petitioners. In this context, the learned Additional Advocate General relied on the decision of ther Delhi High Court in the case of (All India Plastic Industries Association and others vs. Government of NCT of Delhi) reported in 2009 SCC Online Delhi 1727 in identical circumstances, wherein the Delhi Government issued an order prohibiting the use of one time use and throw away plastics and has given effect to the ban after a considerable period. In the said case, the Delhi High Court held as follows:-

"34. It is true that the actual physical procedure laid down in Rule 4 of the EPR was not followed by the responden

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ts, but there can be no doubt that the spirit or the sum and substance of Rule 4 was followed, inasmuch as the petitioners had notice of what was likely to happen or what was proposed. The petitioners were given a hearing in respect of that proposed action and the hearing resulted in a decision being taken by this Court, which partly accepted their submissions. It is only then, and as a follow up, that a final decision was taken which took the shape of the notification dated 7th January 2009. In other words, the entire range of activity postulated by Rule 4 of the EPR was followed if not in letter then certainly in spirit before the impugned notification was issued. As the Supreme Court has told us, a pragmatic view of the matter has to be taken. 35. Has any prejudice been caused to the petitioners for non compliance of the physical procedure laid down in Rule 4 of the EPR. In this context, it was submitted by learned counsel for the petitioners that if an act has to be done in a particular manner, then it must be done in that manner or not at all. For this, reliance was placed upon Nazir Ahmed vs. King Emperor, AIR 1936 Privy Council 253 (2). While this general proposition still holds the field, it is not an absolute proposition when over the years it has been recognised and accepted in independent India that flexibility in procedure or a play in the joints is permissible in given circumstances, particularly where the principles of natural justice are involved. As mentioned above, on the facts of this case, the petitioners were given adequate opportunity of placing their point of view not only before the administrative authorities but even before a judicial authority. This is much more than the petitioners could have asked for. To this extent, the petitioners can certainly have no grievance. Therefore, if the petitioners are given more than what they are entitled to and if in being given that greater opportunity, the spirit of the law is followed, there can hardly be any reason for complaint on the part of the petitioners. 36. Looked at from another point of view, all that the petitioners can hope for, in these circumstances, is an opportunity of placing their point of view before the respondents in respect of a blanket ban on the use of plastics. As held above, this opportunity was made available to the petitioners (and they accepted it). During the pendency of this case, an opportunity was again offered to the petitioners specifically in respect of the issuance of the notification dated 7th January 2019..... " 55. Reference was also made to the decision of the Honourable Supureme Court in the case of (State of Punab vs. Tehal Singh) reported in 2002 (2) SCC 7 wherein it was held as follows:- "10. In the present case, the provisions of the Act do not provide for any opportunity of hearing to the residents before any area falling under a particular Gram Sabha is excluded and included in another Gram Sabha. In the absence of such a provision, the residents of that area which has been excluded and included in a different Gram Sabha cannot make a complaint regarding denial of opportunity of hearing before issue of declarations under Sections 3 and 4 of the Act respectively. However, the position would be different where a house of a particular resident of an area is sought to be excluded from the existing Gram Sabha and included in another Gram Sabha. There the action of the Government being directed against an individual, the Government is required to observe principles of natural justice. For the aforesaid reasons, we are of the view that no opportunity of hearing was required to be given before making declarations either under Section 3 or Section 4 of the Act by the Government." ... 11. Coming to the second question, the High Court had taken a view that since an opportunity of hearing was required to be given before issuing a declaration under Section 3 of the Act, therefore, notifications under Sections 3 and 4 could not have been issued simultaneously, has to be held erroneous, once we held that no opportunity of hearing was required to be given before issue of declaration under Section 3 of the Act." 56. Having regard to the above decisions, we proceed to consider as to whether the order, which is impugned in these writ petitions, are in violation of principles of natural justice. The order 25.06.2018 passed by the Government came into effect only on 01.01.2019. In the interregnum, according to the respondents, they have given widest publicity possible to inform the public at large about the proposed ban to be imposed and to wean away the users and/or manufacturers of plastic products from using or dealing with the same any further. The ban order was imposed throughout the State curbing the use of one time use and throw away plastics and other similar products, which are morefully set out in the Government Order. When such being the case, individual notice cannot be expected to be issued by the respondents. It is also not the case of the petitioners that they were not aware of the ban order before 01.01.2019, the intended date from which the ban came into force. It is an admitted fact that some of the petitioners herein have submitted representations to the respondents objecting to the proposed ban and such representations were overruled by the Government. When a policy decision was taken by the Government to ban the use of certain types of products in larger public interest, the Government cannot be expected to issue notices individually to all concerned nor such a course of action adopted by the Government can be said to be in violation of principles of natural justice. Violation of Fundamental Rights:- 57. It is vehemently contended on behalf of the petitioners that by virtue of the blanket ban imposed by the State, the petitioners, who were engaged in manufacturing activities, have lost their livelihood. That apart, several thousands of employees who were employed in these establishments were rendered jobless. Above all, the State also lost revenue generation, which was hitherto generated through the petitioners' units. Therefore, it is contended that the action of the State in imposing the ban has resulted in infringement of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the petitioners under Articles 14 and 19 (1) (g) of The Constitution of India. 58. We are unable to countenance the submissions made on behalf of the petitioners with respect to alleged infringement of their fundamental rights. Even in matters relating to land acquisition, when land of some of the owner was acquired, such an action of the Government cannot be called in question as development of a Nation cannot be achieved without industrialisation. It is trite that public interest will always outweigh private interest. When development and individual interests are weighed, certainly, development of the country will be preferred, as, without development, economy of the Country cannot progress. The fundamental right enunciated under Article 21 of The Constitution of India imposes an obligation on the State to ensure that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. Such right includes right of enjoyment of pollution free water and air. In the present case, by reason of imposing a ban on manufacturing, distributing, supplying or storing of one time use and throw away plastic waste, the Government has only ensured that the fundamental rights of the citizen are protected and they can enjoy a life with water and air free from any pollution. In this context, useful reference can be made to the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board v. C. Kenchappa reported in (2006) 6 SCC 371 wherein it was held thus:- "61. The priority of developing nations is urgent industrialisation and development. We have reached at a point where it is necessary to strike a golden balance between development and ecology." 59. Even otherwise, the right to carry on trade and business cannot be conferred without any restrictions for regulating the trade. The requirement is that restriction has to be reasonable. By virtue of the Government Order, which is impugned in these writ petitions, we only see that a reasonable restriction has been imposed taking into consideration the larger interest of the public to enjoy a pollution free atmosphere. Therefore, we are of the view that even though some of the petitioners who are said to have lost their livelihood by reason of the ban imposed by the Government, it will not be a ground for us to interfere with the impugned order and permit the petitioners to resort to manufacture of the banned products and to add to the burning issue of tackling the plastic waste. It is high time that one time use of plastics and other similar products are required to be banned given the nature and magnitude of it's purposes for which they are not intended to. In such circumstances, individual interest of the petitioners cannot be considered as against the larger public interest and it cannot be said that the impugned order has been an infraction of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the petitioners. Discrimination:- 60. On behalf of the petitioners, it is vociferously contended that the State Government, while passing the impugned order, has given exemption to some of the plastic products, while banning the use of "one time use and throw away" carry bags, non woven bags, plastic paper cups etc., According to the petitioners, the Government is not justified in conferring exemption to some of the products listed in the impugned order inasmuch as use of those products also tend to dent the ecology and therefore, the Government ought to have followed a uniform policy in banning all those substances which proves to be hazardous to the environment. Mr.Wilson, learned Senior counsel for the petitioners particularly emphasised that the State run Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers' Federation Limited which supplies milk in plastic packet largely contributes to garbage collection. In order to consume the milk contained in the plastic packet, the consumers cut open the plastic cover and it's tip is thrown to bin in large numbers and therefore, the Government ought to have banned the use of plastic cover by the Federation. It is also contended that the multi-layered pack which contains consumables such as biscuits, snacks, chocolate, tea bags, sachet selling various consumables, plastic wrapper used for sale of medicine etc., also largely contributes to solid waste. Those forms of plastic wrappers or covers were exempted in order to aid the multi-national companies who indulge in sale of these products. Therefore, the learned Senior counsel for the petitioners would contend that the fact the Government did not impose a ban on those one time use and throw away products, would amount to discrimination, colourable exercise of power and arbitrariness. 61. Similarly, Mr. Radhakrishnan, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner in WP No. 33897 of 2018 would mainly contend that multi-layered plastics are non-recyclable products and they will never get composted and it will pose serious threat to the economy. However, the State Government has only chosen to impose a ban on recyclable plastic items, instead of first banning the non-recyclable plastic items. Therefore, it is contended that the State Government has passed the impugned order by adopting discriminatory measures against the small scale industries like the petitioner association. 62. In reply, the learned Additional Advocate General appearing for the State Government would contend that the plastic used for packing of milk and milk products (dairy products), oil, medicine and medical equipment are essential commodities and therefore, they are exempted. It is further stated that the allegation that in order to help the multi-national companies the Government has given exemption or a special kind of treatment to them is unsustainable as the exemptions provided are based on sound logic, practical consideration. 63. Even though the learned Additional Advocate General would contend that milk and other products are essential commodities and therefore, they were given exemption, we are of the view that the whole gamut of arguments is not to ban the essential commodities such as milk, and medicine, but only to ban the plastic wrappers or covers through which those essential commodities are delivered. When one time use of plastic carry bags are banned, the Government, in its wisdom, ought to have considered banning similar one time use and throw away plastics through which consumables are sold. At any rate, the Government cannot say that consumables sold through multi-layered packs are essential commodities and therefore, they are exempted. Had the Government imposed a ban on those multi-layered products, it could have prevented the environment to a great extent. In fact, it is argued by the counsel for the petitioners that it is these multi-layered packs through which consumables are sold would cause greater harm than the use of other plastics inasmuch as there is no scope for these multi-layered packs to be get de-composed. In any event, granting exemption to some of the items of plastics in the order passed by the Government, which is impugned in these writ petitions, cannot be considered as a discrimination especially when it was issued in the interest of preventing environmental disaster. In such view of the matter, we can only conclude that the exemption granted by the Government to some of the consumables sold through one time use and throw away plastics deserves to be re-considered by the Government. We therefore direct the Government to implement the banning of all multi-layered plastic wrappers and covers which are meant for one time use and throwaway, so as to make the ban effective and meaningful. The Government can also explore alternatives for supply of Aavin milk through bottles or any other means, which was hitherto followed in the State instead of using the plastic cover. In other words, we feel that even though the Government of Tamil Nadu has banned one time use of plastic and other similar products with effect from first January 2019 with an avowed object to make the environment in the State a plastic-free one, we feel that the ban is neither effective nor complete. Inspite of the ban, one time throw away plastics are freely made available or accessed for being used. The order which is impugned in these writ petitions, banning one time use of throw away plastics, can therefore be construed to remain only in paper owing to it's poor implementation. Unless hectic fines are imposed on the suppliers or stockists, the ban cannot be claimed to be effective or complete. The State should promote alternative products such as cloth or jute bags for being used by one and all in the larger interest of protecting the environment from being hampered. By allowing the citizens of this State to continue to use one time use and throw plastics, it would only adversely affect the ecology of the State. The State is duty bound to enforce certain stringent measures to protect the environment and the decision to impose a ban on one time use and throwaway plastics, is one of the steps taken in that direction. 64. Before we conclude, we wish to observe that slowly and steadily, plastic had infiltrated and intruded into our daily lives and the large scale use of plastic, for the purpose to which it was not intended to, had in fact sounded a death knell to our ecology and environment. By virtue of burgeoning use of plastics for all purposes, it resulted in mounting of garbage strewn all through the lanes and by-lanes of the streets and the Municipal authorities throughout the State find it an uphill task to deal with the situation. Above all, plastics which are meant for single use are certainly a menace inasmuch as it is littered at the drop of a hat. The more the easier the production of plastic, as we could infer, be it one time use and throw away plastic or other similar nature of product, the more easily it is thrown away in the bins or strewn haphazardly, which causes great concern to the environment and it is a huge pollution menace. As per the scientific study, it is estimated that some items of plastics will take atleast 100 years to decompose. There are also data available in the internet to conclude that plastic wastes have been mistaken for food by numerous animals, mainly marine creatures and other domestic animals such as dogs, buffaloes and cows and large quantities of plastics have been found in the stomachs of many dead animals. The toxic contents in the plastic had the tendency to cause harm to vital organs or biological functions of marine as well as domestic animals. Cumulatively, plastic profoundly affected animals in aquatic, marine and terrestrial eco-systems. Further, when discarded in earth, the plastic items had the tendency to destruct and decline the quality of soil in the earth, which is also a greatest cause for concern. We also take note of the fact that increasing urbanisation and population growth is also considerably contributing and accounting for plastic pollution, especially the demand for cheaper and readily available materials such as wrappers, plastic water bottles, straws and food containers are easily available and accessed. We wish to observe that restaurants/food production units are causing greater harm than estimated by usage of the plastic covers for packing food items and the rise in usage of these products is alarming. This had in fact woken up environmentalists, natural lovers as well as the government to slowly think of getting rid of plastics which are meant for single use so as to save the earth and planet. In fact, in the counter affidavit filed by the respondents in WP No. 33897 of 2018, it was stated that the Government has granted exemptions to some of the items of plastic since it is not feasible to ban those items for the present. However, it was stated that such an elimination of exemptions may arise in future depending upon the circumstances. We place on record such submissions made on behalf of the respondents. At this juncture, we also wish to place on record that the Division Bench of this Court, in identical case, passed an order dated 27.12.2018 in WP (MD) No. 34065 of 2018 in which a direction was given to the State Government to ensure that the plastic in various forms are phased out from the markets and that the order of ban is implemented in letter and spirit before the end of 2019. We reiterate the same and direct the Government to ensure that the order imposing ban on various items of plastics is scrupulously followed and implemented without allowing it to remain on paper. 65. For all the reasons aforesaid, we dismiss these writ petitions. No costs. Connected Miscellaneous Petitions are closed.
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