Retailers fail to adhere to plastic bag regulations in Vijayawada

Despite the recent Supreme Court and state consumer forum orders stating that retailers cannot charge for branded carry bags, the problem persists in Vijayawada. 

Bata India was recently penalised by the Chandigarh Consumer Forum which has led to a wider discussion on branded carry bags

“Recently, one of the Decathlon showrooms in Hyderabad was fined for selling branded carry bags,” Vijayawada-based consumer activist Harish Shekhawat told TNN. “Prior to that, a Bata showroom in Chandigarh was held for contempt of court for a similar issue.” 

Shekhawat said that the problem not only continues to persist but that many customers still do not know that it is illegal to charge for branded carry bags. He also said that retailers often charge between Rs 10 ($0.14) and Rs 25 for the branded carry bags.

Carry bags are allowed to be sold by retailers in the state, in a move to cut down on the use of plastic bags, which pollute the environment. However, as branded carry bags constitute advertising, it is illegal to charge customers for them, according to both the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2018 and the state consumer forum’s decision. 

The state consumer forum currently holds the authority to fine businesses that charge customers for branded carry bags. The organisation can fine businesses between Rs 9,000 and Rs 18,000 if found guilty of a violation. 

In May, the Chandigarh Consumer Forum ordered the footwear brand Bata to pay Rs 9,000 for charging a customer Rs 3 for a paper bag for the shoes he had purchased in-store. Following the case, the Consumer Protection Council’s Tamil Nadu section agreed with the Chandigarh Consumer Forum’s ruling and stated that the directive should be enforced across India.

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