Describing that the health problems caused to people in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts from the use of endosulfan are “next only to the Bhopal gas tragedy”, the State government on Wednesday submitted to the Karnataka High Court that it was time to make the polluter to pay compensation in such cases.
Submission in this regard was made before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition, initiated suo motu by the court, on the issue of sufferings of the people affected by the use of endosulfan in two districts. The PIL petition was initiated following a letter written by K.L. Manjunath, a judge of the High Court.
Government counsel Raveendra G. Kolle said that though the sale of endosulfan in India was banned following to an order of the Supreme Court, many other pesticides containing the same chemical components that were in endosulfan were being marketed under different brand name.
At this stage, Ms. Justice Nagarathna pointed out that the mothers of children affected by the use of endosulfan would rather see them (the children) die than suffer.
Mr. Kolle said the government had announced compensation to those who were suffering but the payment of compensation was stayed as the Endosulfan Manufacturers’ and Formulators’ Welfare Association challenged it for putting the blame on use of endosulfan for the disabilities caused to the people in these districts.
Meanwhile, the Bench permitted the association to be a respondent in these proceedings. Association’s counsel S. Sriranga claimed that endosulfan does not affect health in such a manner as it was a mild insecticide.
The Bench adjourned further hearing asking both the State and Union governments, and the association to file their responses.