Court asks Centre to spell out its stand

The Supreme Court has appointed an expert committee to go into all aspects of the ban on endosulfan and the disposal of the existing quantity of the pesticide.

The court has asked the Centre to spell out its stand on the manufacture and use of endosulfan in the country.

A Bench comprising Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Madan B. Lokur, hearing a writ petition filed by the Democratic Youth Federation of India on Tuesday, said the committee to be headed by the Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) would have the Member-Secretary of the Centre Pollution Control Board, two scientists, and the Joint Secretary of Plant Protection from the Agriculture Ministry on it.

Report in six weeks

The Bench asked the committee to submit its report in six weeks after undertaking a scientific study on the question whether the use of endosulfan would cause any serious health hazard to human beings and of its impact on environmental pollution. The panel would also recommend whether endosulfan should be permitted or to be banned completely in human interest.

Last year, the court had banned the manufacture and sale of endosulfan in the country. The Bench faulted the Centre for not giving its views whether the ban should continue or not.

The Bench said, ‘‘You can’t leave everything to court and say court is exceeding its limit. Why don’t you [the Centre] take a clear stand? If we say ban, you say economic crisis, and if we don’t ban, then it is human crisis. Either way we are blamed.’’

The Bench said the committee would also estimate the cost of the existing stock of the pesticide that should be destroyed. It posted the matter for further hearing on November 20.