Order of the Supreme Court regarding use of PVC and chlorinated plastics for banners/hoardings during elections, 12/08/2021

Order of the Supreme Court of India in the matter of W. Edwin Wilson Vs Union of India & Others dated 12/08/2021.

The matter related to use of PVC and chlorinated plastics for banners/hoardings used during elections.

The appellant, dissatisfied with the order of the National Green Tribunal, approached the SC. The NGT in its order noted that the  Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as well as the Chief Election Commission have taken a view that the use of plastics during elections especially banners/hoardings should be avoided and ordered for appropriate steps to be taken for compliance of the directions issued by the MoEF&CC, January 17, 2019 to the Chief Secretaries of all the states/Union Territories and the Chief Electoral Officers.

The appellant was of the view that it was necessary for the Ministry of Environment and Forests to issue certain directions under section 5 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 to ban the use of PVC and chlorinated plastics for advertisements during elections. Also, the Election Commission should take pro-active steps in including this in the Model Code of Conduct and give suitable directions to all concerned.

The SC, August 12, 2021 was informed by the Additional Solicitor General that a draft notification has been issued calling for objections from all stakeholders for banning different categories of plastic including PVC, which are less than 100 microns. The Election Commission stated that it was for the government of India to make necessary amendments to the Act and that there was nothing for the Election Commission to address at this stage. The SC said that the Union of India must proceed to pass suitable orders and directions after finalizing the objections to the draft notification and listed the matter after 8 weeks.