Polythene Prohibition Publicity | HC seeks personal appearance of officers for defying orders

The High Court has sought presence of several officers through virtual mode on December 1 for defying its orders for wide publicity to ‘polythene prohibition’ in the UTs of J&K and Ladakh.

While hearing a PIL, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta observed that in terms of orders dated 23 October and 10 November, 2020, it had passed certain directions to the authorities to file the action taken reports in the matter, which was not filed.

The court  directed the Secretaries Housing & Urban Development Department, Tourism Department, Environment and Forest Department, Floriculture Department as well as Chief Executive Officers Pahalgam Development Authority, Gulmarg Development Authority, Sonamarg

Development Authority and Patnitop Development Authority to remain present through Video Conferencing on December 1.

The court also asked Senior Superintendent of Police, Kathua to remain present through video conferencing for not filing reply to a related application.

In its earlier orders, the court had directed governments of J&K and Ladakh to give wide publicity to ‘polythene prohibition’ in their respective Union Territories.

Pointing out that J&K and Ladakh are ecologically fragile areas especially with eco-sensitive tourism spots, the court had observed that the prohibition on polythene was required to be enforced strictly.

While the court had directed various departments to prepare and publish through print and electronic media publicity material, it had also asked for publicising polythene prohibition through signage at prominent places in J&K and Ladakh.

“The publicity material,” the court had said, “should inform public regarding the prohibitions and disclosing the liability, which shall flow to the vehicle owners for carrying such prohibited material.”

The court had also said that a copy of its order be served on secretaries of departments concerned, all development authorities. The court had sought an action taken report in this regard.