Supreme Court seeks report on medical facilities provided to endosulfan victims

The Kerala Government recently filed an affidavit informing the Supreme Court about the disbursal of compensation to 98% of the endosulfan victims

August 18, 2022 04:12 pm | Updated 04:12 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Kasargod District Legal Services Authority in Kerala to inspect the medical and palliative care facilities provided to endosulfan victims.

A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud ordered the legal services authority to submit its report in six weeks.

The order came after victims, represented by senior advocate P.N. Raveendran and advocate Sudheer, complained of the lack of health care infrastructure provided by the State despite the best efforts of the district administration.

"The efforts have to be made at the highest levels in the State Government," Mr. Raveendran submitted.

The Bench directed the legal services authority team to examine the facilities provided for healthcare, palliative and physiotherapy in the district, which became the focal point of insecticide contamination affecting hundreds of families

The court asked the legal services authority delegation to visit district hospitals, community and primary health centres to get a thorough and objective assessment of the ground situation.

The State Government has recently filed an affidavit informing the apex court about the disbursal of compensation to 98% of the victims. Advocate Nishe Rajen Shonker, for Kerala, said the ₹5 lakh compensation has reached almost all of the over 3,700 victims.

The State had countered that it has made the necessary medical facilities available to victims.

In May, the apex court slammed the Kerala Government for doing “virtually nothing” for endosulfan pesticide exposure victims. The court had said the State’s inaction was “appalling” and amounted to a breach of the apex court’s judgment in 2017, which had ordered the State to pay ₹5 lakh each to the victims in three months.

Of the 3,704 victims, 102 are bedridden, 326 are mentally challenged, 201 are physically disabled, 119 are wrecked by cancer while 2,966 others fall in the residual category.

“The right to health is an integral part of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution. Without health, the faculties of living have little meaning,” the court had noted in the case.

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