Seeking to know the rationale for putting a blanket ban on manufacture, sale and use of plastic carry bags in the Capital, the Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Delhi Government to explain the reasons to keep out other plastic products from the ambit of the prohibition.

A Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice Darmar Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw directed the Government to satisfy it how it had taken the decision on a blanket ban on carry bags and left out other plastic packaging material and products like plates, bottles and spoons.

The Bench also asked whether the Government had conducted any study on the use of plastic for manufacturing of carry bags vis-à-vis other plastic packaging materials.

Later, the Bench asked the Government to file a complete report containing details from the stage of draft notification to the issue of final notification formalising the ban. The Bench was hearing a petition by the All-India Plastic Industries Association challenging the blanket ban.

Questioning the competence of the Government to notify The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, a Central legislation, the petitioner submitted that the ban would affect the employment of lakhs of employees engaged in the plastic bags industry in the city as the business of the petitioner and its members would shut down.

According to the notification issued on October 23 by the Government, no body can manufacture, import, store, sell or transport any kind of plastic carry bags, even those used for covering magazines, books, invitation cards and for collecting garbage in the city. It had come into force from November 22.

The notification further says no person, including shopkeepers, vendors, wholesalers, retailers and hawkers, will be allowed to sell, store or use plastic carry bags for supply of any goods. However, plastic bags used for packing food stuffs like milk, cooking oil, flour and plastic cups, plates, spoons and bottles have been excluded from the ban. The petitioner urged the Court to set aside the notification.

The matter will now come up on December 11 for further argument.