Legal Update – 24 May 2019

Guidelines issued on enforcement of Plastic Prohibition Regulation

  • Manner to conduct inspections and enforcement of the Regulations stipulated
  • Inspectors and enforcers required to produce IDs when on duty
  • Harassment, beating, and arbitrary arrests prohibited
  • Stopping people and vehicles for purposes of inspections discouraged

In a bid to ensure smooth operation and enforcement of the Prohibition of Plastic Carrier Bags Regulations, on 23 May 2019, the Vice President’s Office issued Guidelines to the enforcers of the said Regulations.

The Guidelines are meant to protect individuals against harassment and arbitrary enforcement of the Regulations, while at the same time ensuring that the provisions of law are complied with.

The Guidelines however empower enforcers to inspect shops, markets, supermarkets, industries, godowns, warehouses, and any other places that deal with buying and selling of products.

Enforcers are required to formally introduce themselves by showing valid identity cards prior to the conduct of any inspection. Furthermore, enforcers are prohibited from entering into person’s residences and stopping and searching vehicles or people for purposes of looking for plastics carrier bags. However, if a vehicle is subject to inspection for whatever other reasons, and the owner is found with a consignment of plastic carrier bags, the owner will be liable as per the provisions of the law.

After coming into force of the Regulations, any person who will be found selling, possessing or using plastic carrier bags will be fined as per the provisions of the law. Moreover, if a person admits to the offence, he/she will be required to sign a prescribed form for the payment of a fine, and will be given time to pay. In the event such a person refuses to sign the form or fails to pay the fine within the agreed time, then legal proceedings will be instituted in Court.

The Guidelines direct enforcers to issue Government receipts to acknowledge receipt of payment of fine to all those who have admitted the offence and paid the respective fine.

Lastly, the Guidelines state that whoever obstructs or fails to provide the required support in the inspections and enforcement of the Regulations will be dealt with in accordance with laws of the country. The Guidelines appeal to the prevalence of wisdom by specifically discouraging arbitrary arrests, unnecessary use of force, beatings, and other unacceptable conduct.

To read the Guidelines click here