In view of the harmful effects of the pesticide

The Supreme Court on Wednesday indicated that it would consider passing an interim order on Friday imposing a ban on the production of endosulfan, considering the harmful effects of this pesticide on the people of this country.

A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar posted the matter for further hearing on May 13 after impleading the pesticide manufacturers. The Bench was hearing a petition filed by the Democratic Youth Federation of India.

Senior counsel Krishnan Venugopal, appearing for the petitioner insisted on the court to impose a ban. However, Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam informed the court that the government had constituted two committees to go into the harmful effects of endosulfan on the people.

He said the two committees would be made into one and two experts, one epidemiologist and one immunologist would be inducted into the committee and a report would be submitted in three months. The court could consider passing an interim order thereafter, he said.

The SG said the Centre issued a notification banning endosulfan in Kerala in 2006 itself but its use had to be phased out after a cost effective alternate pesticide was found out.

Senior counsel Soli Sorabjee, appearing for the manufacturers said the manufacturers should be heard before any order was passed. The CJI told the counsel “if we allow manufacture of a pesticide which is found to be harmful, we can't put the clock back. If the report is in your favour, we can always reconsider our order.”

However, after Mr. Sorabjee insisted on further hearing the Bench posted the matter for Friday. The DYFI in its petition said the valuable life of a large section of people was directly affected because of the use of endosulfan a pesticide which was already banned in 81 countries all over the world and its use of was not permitted in another 12 countries. The petitioner said several studies had documented that endosulfan could also affect human development.

It said endosulfan was the only pesticide applied to cashew plantations in the hills for 20 years and had contaminated the village environment.

The excessive use of chemicals and pesticides for optimising agricultural production created alarming danger to health and safety of living beings in general and agricultural workers in particular.