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Contempt notice issued to company on plastic sachet use

Wednesday May 11, 2011 07:46:24 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday issued a contempt notice to Dharampal Satyapal Group - makers of chewing tobacco Rajnigandha and Tulsi - for marketing their product in plastic pouches in violation of the court's orders of Dec 7, 2010.

An apex court bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and Asok Kumar Ganguly issued the notice to the company's managing director, Rajiv Kumar, on an application filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL).

The petition drew the court's attention to the marketing of "Rajnigandha" and "Tulsi" by its manufacturers in plastic sachets which carry the manufacturing date of April 2011.

Appearing for CPIL, senior counsel Prashant Bhushan told the court that it was in gross violation of its Dec 7, 2010 order banning the marketing of chewing tobacco in plastic sachets.

"This was gross contempt of the court's order by the largest manufacturers of Rajnigandha and Tulsi," Bhushan told the court.

He said the company was contending that the marketing was not done in sachets but they had zip-lock pouches and that they were meant for export.

If they were only for export how are they available in the domestic market with price marked in rupees, Bhushan asked.

The court said: "After anxious consideration, we are convinced that a crude attempt has been made to violate the December 7, 2010 order by Dharampal Satyapal group of companies."

"We make it clear that Gutka, Tulsi and Panparag manufacturers shall not use plastic material in any form or in any packaging for selling their products," the judges ruled.

The apex court, in its Dec 7, 2010 order, had directed the manufacturers of chewing tobacco not to pack their products in plastic sachets.

The ban came into effect March 31, 2011.

Appearing for the government, Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told the court that the ministry of environment and forests has written to all state chief secretaries to take steps for the effective enforcement of the court's order of Dec 7, 2010.

The court directed the ministry to file an affidavit stating the compliance of its direction banning plastic sachets in the country.





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