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Court issues notice to Centre, States on plea for endosulfan ban

J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre and all the States on a petition for a nationwide ban on endosulfan, given the pesticide's harmful effect on the people.

A Bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar issued the notice on the petition filed by the Democratic Youth Federation of India, after hearing senior counsel Krishnan Venugopal. It asked Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam to be present in the court on May 11, the next date of hearing.

In its petition, the DYFI said the valuable life of a large section of people was affected by the use of endosulfan, which had already been banned in 81 countries and whose use was not permitted in another 12 countries. Several studies had shown that the pesticide could also affect human development. “Researchers studying children from an isolated village in Kasaragod district of Kerala have linked Endosulfan exposure to delays in sexual maturity among boys. Endosulfan is an off-patent organochlorine insecticide and acaricide. This colourless solid has emerged as a highly controversial agrichemical owing to its acute toxicity, potential for bioaccumulation and role as an endocrine disruptor.”

The DYFI said endosulfan was the only pesticide applied in cashew plantations in Kerala for 20 years, and it had contaminated the environment of villages.

All-party demand

An all-party delegation from Kerala met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and demanded a ban on the sale and production of the pesticide nationwide, but nothing had so far been done.

Given the pesticide's harmful effect on the people, Kerala had imposed a ban on endosulfan. The excessive use of chemicals and pesticides for optimising agricultural production had posed an alarming level of danger to the health of people, particularly farm workers.

Hence this writ petition for a directive to the Centre to prohibit the sale of endosulfan in its present form or any of its derivatives throughout India; to all the States to explain their stand on such a ban; to the Centre to provide sufficient rehabilitation facilities to those affected by the use of endosulfan and to identify its manufacturers and compensate the families of those who died or were affected by its use.

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