15 Jun 2121

Policy to promote the use of Paper from Recycled Pulp is with a view to address the Environmental Concerns - Bombay High Court

Case : Satia Industries Ltd. and Anr v. The State of Maharashtra and An Writ Petition No. 995 of 2021 with Writ Petition (L) No. 7598 of 2021

Court : Bombay High Court

Bench : Justice S. C. Gupte and Justice M. S. Karnik

Decided on : 15 Jun 2121

Relevant Statues

Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950

Brief Facts & Procedure History

1. The relevant seminal facts are that there was a requirement of tenders for the supply of 70 GSM (White Shade) writing and printing paper with Mill’s and Bureau’s Water Mark. They have been issued by Respondent No.2, Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbooks & Production and Curriculum Research where the invitations to tender to contain various conditions inter alia concerning technical qualifications for bidding and instructions to bidders. The concerning condition in the present petition is contained in clause (3) (a) of para 2.2.1 titled “Important Instructions to bidders”.

2. The Petitioners are the manufacturers of paper from virgin pulp, which is made of agricultural waste and not of wood excluding themselves and the similar manufacturers from not meeting the specified tender condition that the paper must be supplied from 100% recycled pulp.

3. Hence, this group of petitions i.e. Writ Petition No.995 of 2021, Writ Petition (L) Nos.7598 and 7709 of 2021 challenges the tender conditions forming part of invitations to tender. The challenge is also extended on the footing that the manufacturers of writing and printing paper only from 100% recycled pulp have been improperly included as potential bidders.

The Issue of the Case

Whether the procurement notice by the Respondent State concerning the tender conditions of requiring manufacturers of writing and print paper only from 100% recycled pulp is arbitrary and unreasonable?    

The Observations of the Court

The Honourable Bombay High Court observed the following:

1. Observed that the State has relied on a directive issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of Government of India for promoting procurement of recycled paper where it has been issued with a view to promote procurement of recycled paper and avoid improper restrictive measures like insisting only on paper made out of virgin pulp in the interest of the environment and for the preservation of forests.

2. Took cognizance of the fact that based on such directive, the Ministry has advised other departments/ Ministries, such as Ministry of Human Resource Development and State/ UT Governments, University Grant Commission to consider purchasing paper made from both recycled pulps as well as the virgin pulp, made of wood-based or agro-based material, for the printing of educational textbooks and for other purposes.

3. Opined that the Ministry has proposed a policy in order to promote the use of paper made from recycled pulp with a view to addressing environmental issues. Therefore, the procurement notice issued by the Respondent State is neither capricious nor unreasonable.

4. Contemplated the view of Central Pulp and Research Institute, Saharanpur where the institute did not come across any study with regard to health hazards due to 100% recycled pulp.

The Decision Held by the Court

The Honourable Bombay High Court dismissed the petition finding no merit in the petition. It further dismissed the cross-petition Writ Petition No.12507 of 2021 as withdrawn by the Petitioners with the liberty to challenge it later.

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