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High Court orders slew of measures to enforce
polythene ban in JK
Shopkeepers, drivers found violating law to be tried for
Contempt of Court
D A RASHID
Srinagar, Nov 5: Expressing displeasure over the menace of
polythene still plaguing the State, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on
Tuesday ordered several measures to enforce the ban on ground.
“ The object of this Public Interest Litigation is to eradicate the menace of
polythene from the territory of the State of J& K. Compliance reports, as filed
from time to time, suggest a very horrible state of affairs and despite all
measures taken by the Stale Government and despite repeated directions
from this Court, violations are unabated,” a Division Bench comprising
Justices Muhammad Yaqoob Mir and Muzaffar Hussain Attar said in its order.
“ The status reports as received from time to time in compliance to the
directions of this Court indicate that the circulation of polythene in the market
has not stopped despite making its ban public by the concerned authorities
by issuing pamphlets and other measures,” the Court said.
The Court said the polythene has not disappeared from the market but it
appears that the shopkeepers and the stockists are neither abiding by the law
and rules nor are getting affected by the directions of this Court. “ We direct
all the District Magistrates to intensify the checking and in the process when
polythene bags are seized from the shopkeepers or the stockists, their
particulars shall be submitted along with the status report so that they can be
proceeded against for violating the court directions,” the Court said.
The Court directed the District Magistrates to make public through media that
the polythene carry bags, if found and seized from any shopkeeper or
stockists shall face the consequence and contempt proceedings shall be
initiated against them for violation of court directions.
The Court said it is a matter of concern that the owners/ drivers of vehicles
with impunity continue to violate the laws and in effect violate the directions of
this Court. The Court passed these directions after perusing the compliance
reports filed by the government.
About the number of trucks intercepted and the quantity of polythene seized
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at the check points mentioned in the latest status report, the court said it
indicates that the Court directions are not taken seriously by the violators,
more particularly by the transporters.
Amicus Curie, Z A Shah, suggested that there should be some more direction
in order to check the vehicles carrying polythene and the violators should be
dealt with sternly suggesting that there should be notification and display of
signboards to inform the general masses particularly the transporters and
drivers that if any person carries polythene or polythene bags he shall be
liable for action under the Contempt of Courts Act. “ The suggestion in the
given scenario is quite genuine” the Court said.
In compliance of the Court directions to explore feasibility of installation of
technical/ electronic equipments and creation of electronic infrastructure to
detect illegal movement of banned polythene into the State, the government
stated that it has constituted two committees.
After the Court pointedly observed as to whether the committees constituted
include the experts/ persons having sound technical knowledge about
scanners, Advocate General submitted that there was no such technical
expert of scanners.
After Z A Shah pointed out that two members of the committee are not
technical experts, the court said, “ The Committee has to be of technical
experts, therefore we direct that the two members be deleted from the
Committee and in their place two technical experts shall be included.” The
Court also said it is the responsibility of Commissioner Sales Tax to check and
control the entry of polythene and polythene bags into J& K. “ It may have
certain difficulties but to overcome such difficulties the Committees have been
constituted and it is for them to work out as how to install the scanners and
other electronic equipments so as to enable the authorities concerned to
check and scan the goods which are entering into the State of J& K,” the
“ They can’t be allowed to say that it is not their primary duty. Of course it is
their duty and they must ensure complete ban on polythene, whatever
polythene has entered into the State, same is taken care of by the authorities
who are periodically submitting their reports and the process of seizing the
polythene and polythene bags is in progress, same is to be seriously
monitored by the concerned authorities,” the Court ordered. After noting
violations as pointed out in the status report, the Court said the respondent
authorities shall display signboards at the entry points more particularly at
Lakhanpur and Lower Munda that any vehicle carrying polythene and
polythene bags shall be dealt with under law and owners and drivers shall be
liable for contempt of court.
The Court said henceforth any vehicle seized for carrying polythene and
polythene materials shall not be released until further orders from this Court.
“ The violators shall be sternly dealt with for violating the Court directions and
the laws,” the Court said.
The Court directed that the same be given wide publicity through print and
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electronic media so as to make all concerned more particularly the
transporters and drivers aware that they shall desist from carrying polythene
or polythene material in their vehicles, otherwise to face the serious
consequences. The Court directed the Commissioner, Sales Tax, to file
affidavit to indicate as to how much of the seized polythene has been handed
over to the State Pollution Control Board and Secretary Pollution Control
Board shall also file affidavit to indicate how much seized polythene has been
received from the Sales Tax Department or other sources and what action has
been taken thereon.
“ Why the Commissioner Sales Tax Department has not displayed the
signboards, needs to be explained. Secretary, State Pollution Control Board is
also required to explain as to why till dale he has not responded to the letter
dated 15.10.2013. Both officers shall file affidavit so as to clarify their position
by or before next date,” the Court said.
Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, G N Qasba submitted that he
has taken various measures and effective steps for making the Srinagar city
“ He shall file an affidavit by the next date of hearing as to how he has dealt
with the people who are dealing with polythene or who have stocked the
polythene,” the Court said.
The AG told the Court that the expert committee has not finalized any
proposal vis- a- vis the alternate to polythene carry bags, and sought more
time. The court granted three more weeks.
In its compliance report, Srinagar Municipal Corporation has filed its status
report stating that for spreading awareness, they have issued pamphlets and
have also published various notices and there has been a very good
response. State Pollution Control Board filed a report which reveals that the
Board has seized 859 quintals of polythene carry bags out of which 330
quintals have been confiscated and the confiscated material has been
“ The Pollution Control Board shall file an affidavit so as to show as to how
confiscation proceedings and disposal of remaining 529 quintals are carried
into effect,” the Court directed. The Board shall also repeat circulation of the
pamphlets under the signature of Secretary, Pollution Control Board, both in
English as well as in Urdu version among the masses.
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