January 13th, 2017
The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the Kerala government three months time to issue the compensation and rehabilitation package worth Rs 500 crore to persons who suffered from various health deformities and complications and lost family members from the use of Endosulfan pesticides.
The bench headed by the newly-appointed Chief Justice J.S. Khehar also suggested the state set up a centre where they can provide lifelong medical treatment to all the victims. The apex court further said that the state could approach the centre to recover the compensation given to 5,227 people from the companies, which produce and sell the pesticide.
The bench also comprised Justices N.V. Ramana and D.Y. Chandrachud who were hearing to a PIL filed by CPM’s youth wing Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) in 2012, which complained about the adversities of Endosulfan.
Both the Centre and Kerala were reluctant to ban the pesticide due to their effectiveness on pests, but the apex court stopped its usage in 2012. The ban is still in force. The matter came up for hearing after nearly two years on Tuesday.
The Supreme Court had earlier appointed an expert committee to conduct research on Endosulfan. It had revealed that 13.5% of registered pesticides in India, including Endosulfan, cause adverse effects on health. The report also mentioned that this could lead to congenital deformities.
What is Endosulfan?
Endosulfan is an off-patent organochlorine insecticide and acaricide that is being phased out globally. Endosulfan became a highly controversial agrichemical due to its acute toxicity, the potential for bioaccumulation, and its role as an endocrine disruptor. Because of its threats to human health and the environment, a global ban on the manufacture and use of endosulfan was negotiated under the Stockholm Convention in April 2011.
The people in Kasargod district in Kerala were the most affected due to the use of Endosulfan.