The Centre on Monday claimed before Delhi High Court that manufacturers of CFL bulbs, mostly multinational firms, do not want to adhere to the new e-waste management rules in India though they complied with similar regulations in Europe and other countries.

The government told a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal that these new rules were in accordance with the international convention and these mercury containing lights cannot be allowed to be thrown in open as it has an adverse impact on the environment.

"Most of these manufacturers are multinational companies and are complying with all such rules in Europe and other countries. But in India, they do not want to comply," Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain told the bench.

Countering the submissions, senior advocate P Chidambaram, who appeared for the manufacturers, said it was "impossible" for them to comply with these new rules which required them to collect from consumers and dispose of fluorescent and other mercury containing lamps at their ‘end- of-life’.

"It (new rules) is impossible to comply with. It says we should go to the purchaser and take tubelights or CFLs when they intend to discard it. You (Centre) cannot ask us to do an impossible thing," he said.

Chidambaram said the government cannot compare India with other countries and the new rules were "arbitrary" as no firm would be able to do business like this.

During the hearing, the bench observed, "All of us are concerned with the damage to the environment." 

The bench said it would pass an order on September 28 on the application by manufacturers’ association seeking stay on operation of one of the rules of the government’s E-Waste Management Rules, 2016, providing for ‘extended producer responsibility – authorisation of procedures’ qua fluorescent and other mercury containing lamps.

CFL producers like Philips Lighting, Havells, Surya and the Electric Lamp and Component Manufacturers’ Association have challenged the rules which was notified on March 23.