The Kerala High Court today banned the use of flex and other non-biodegradable materials for campaigning throughout the state ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
The division bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar passed the interim order in a PIL seeking prohibition of use of Poly Vinyl Chloride(PVC) Flex Boards and other ecologically harmful materials for the upcoming polls.
The petitioner Shyaam Kumar, represented by Advocate M Kannan, said that the use of flex and non-biodegradable materials violates Environment Protection Act and Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016.
The Election Commission of India informed the bench through its standing counsel Murali Purushtothaman that it has already advised all political parties by letter issued on February 26 to refrain from using single use plastic materials in poll campaigning and to opt for eco-friendly materials.
The bench also took note of the fact that a single judge(Justice Devan Ramachandran) of the High Court has passed a series of orders for removal of unauthorised flex boards by local authorities.
In this backdrop, the bench ordered :
"Taking note of these developments and the recent direction issued by the Election Commission of India, the matter is admitted. We deem it appropriate to order that all candidates and the National/State Political Parties must strictly adhere to the aforesaid guidelines of the Election Commission of India, so that only eco-friendly materials are used during the election campaign and there is no use of PVC Flex Boards and other non-biodegradable materials as campaign materials in the State of Kerala".
The elections to the 17th Lok Sabha will be conducted in seven phases across the country from April 11 to May 19.