NGT Orders Authorities To File a Report Regarding the Use of Plastic in Packaging

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The National Green Tribunal (NGT), Principal Bench, dated 10th September 2020, expressed its displeasure at the delay in submission of the report. The court directed the authorities – FSSAI, DGHS, MoEF & CC, the CPCB and the BIS to file a report before October 14, 2020. The report was regarding restriction on the use of plastic bottles and multi-layered plastic packages used for packaging of carbonated soft drink and liquor.

Brief Facts

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare passed a notification dated 24th December 2018, under Section 92 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations, 2018 and the Food Safety and Standards (Labeling and Display) Regulations, 2018 regulations.

The Tribunal constituted an Expert Committee comprising of the representatives from FSSAI, BIS, CPCB and DGHS to consider whether any further regulatory provisions are required on the subject of restrictions on the packaging by use of plastic material and if so to what extent. The report was filed by the Expert Committee on 31st May 2019, regarding its consideration in the restriction on the use of plastic bottles and multi-layered plastic packages used for packaging of carbonated soft drink and liquor as well as other items, in view of the adverse impact on the environment and health.

The Expert Committee suggested an action plan with 12 specific points, after considering the areas of concern on the subject. The Tribunal directed FSSAI, BIS, CPCB, DGHS and MoEF & CC to take further actions. The matter was taken up on 28.07.2020 but no action taken report was filed by FSSAI, BIS, CPCB and DGHS.

Arguments before the Court

The appellant claimed that the report filed by the MoEF & CC on 14.02.2020, regarding the issue of single-use plastic was referred to the Committee of Secretaries which was yet to take further decision. Thereafter, seven months passed but there is no report. The appellant also claimed that there is also no appearance on behalf of the FSSAI, DGHS and MoEF&CC. The appellant stated that the matter was to be dealt with by the said authorities and not by them.

Court’s Analysis

The case dealt with Section 92 of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations, 2018 and the Food Safety and Standards (Labeling and Display) Regulations, 2018 regulations, where The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, passed notification.

Sec. 92: Power of Food Authority to make regulations.-

“The Food Authority may, with the previous approval of the Central Government and after previous publication, by notification, make regulations consistent with this Act and the rules made thereunder to carry out the provisions of this Act.”

Court’s Observation & Decision

The NGT expressed its displeasure at the delay in submission of the report. The court directed the authorities – FSSAI, DGHS, MoEF & CC, the CPCB and the BIS to file a report before October 14, 2020.

“Since at this stage we are only considering the remedial action to be taken by the statutory authorities as per law, in terms of an action plan, and any affected individual will have an independent remedy against such action, we do not propose to hear any individual party at this stage.”


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