The Delhi High Court on Wednesday set up a committee of lawyers and tasked it to collect vegetable and fruit samples for simultaneous testing at a Delhi Government laboratory as well as one certified by National Board for Testing and Calibration for presence of residue of pesticides.

A Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna directed the committee comprising Additional Solicitor-General A.S. Chandhiok, Delhi Government Standing Counsel Najmi Waziri, Union Government lawyer Meira Bhatia and Delhi Legal Services Authority Member Secretary Asha Menon to collected the samples from ten different places in the city, send them for testing to the two laboratories and thereafter file a report in the Court.

Earlier, the Delhi Government submitted that in the past three years it had collected 11,000 samples of vegetables and fruits for examination of toxic substances and prosecution had been initiated in 1,440 cases.

The Court ordered double tests of the samples after non-government organisation Consumer Voice submitted that every State other than Delhi got samples of vegetables and fruits tested by National Board for Testing and Calibration-certified laboratories of the Union Government.

The Court has been hearing a suo motu petition on the basis of a media report about rampant use of banned pesticides in vegetable and fruits in the Capital.

The report quoting a study on use of banned pesticides by farmers conducted by a non-government organisation said the amount of pesticides used in India is as much as 750 times the European standards.

Of the five internationally banned pesticides, four were found to be common in vegetables and fruits, the report said.

These pesticides cause headache and affect fertility and can damage kidney and liver, the report said.

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