The Supreme Court refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition seeking a direction for the use of double-sided A4 size papers in all judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings [Youth Bar Association of India v Union of India]
The plea was dismissed as withdrawn by a bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit, Justices Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi.
The plea filed by the Youth Bar Association of India (YBAI) sought a direction to all high courts, tribunals, judicial and quasi-judicial authorities in India to consider altering their rules to allow both pages of a paper to be used.
"Use of single side of papers of different sizes in different forums prompts wastage of it and aggravate the users and manufacturers to abuse resources that are non-renewable", the petition argued.
Therefore, the plea said that it was high timed to ponder the issue with an aim of achieving environmental sustainability.
In this regard, the PIL shed light on the right to life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. It was stated that judicial pronouncements had extended the scope of the term "life" to include the right to health.
"Thus, it could be stated that Article 21 has a multidimensional interpretation."
It was also pointed out that the top court, in March 2020, allowed the use of A4 size paper, on both sides, to cope with environmental challenges. However, most High Courts had not considered taking the same step.
"It is sine qua non that High Courts and subordinate judicial bodies should take part in this greater cause of saving the earth", the plea had urged.
Advocates Sanpreet Singh Ajmani, Yaksha Sharma, Varun Mishra, Bhavya Pratap Singh, Seema Dhngra, and Manju Jetley appeared for the petitioners.
Pertinently, the decision of the Apex Court to shift all judicial filings from legal paper to A4 size paper with printing allowed on both sides saved approximately 3 crore paper sheets in two years.
Besides, reducing the margin and line spacing requirements and bringing down the copies of petitions required from 4 to 2 have also contributed to the saving more than 50 lakh pages a year.