The Supreme Court (SC) on 10 January 2017 described the effects of Endosulfan, a highly controversial but cheap agrochemical, as devastating. The court also directed the Kerala Government to release the entire compensation of Rs. 500 crore to over 5000 victims and their families in three months.
The order was given by a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar. The Bench stated that Kerala can initiate legal proceedings to recover the compensation money from pesticide companies responsible for the production and sale of Endosulfan. The top court went on to state that the State Government can also approach the Union Government.
The Bench also issued a contempt notice against a group for its advertisement in an English daily newspaper in March 2012. The advertisement, which displayed a picture of the former Chief Justice S H Kapadia, claimed that the medical reports and surveys on Endosulfan victims were “fabricated.”
What is Endosulfan?
• Endosulfan is an off-patent organochlorine insecticide and acaricide.
• It became a highly controversial agrichemical due to its severe toxicity, potential for bioaccumulation, and capacity as an endocrine disruptor.
• In February 2008, environmental, consumer and farm labour groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the United Farm Workers and the Organic Consumers Association called on the United States Environmental Protection Agency to ban Endosulfan.
• A global ban on its manufacture and use was negotiated under the Stockholm Convention in April 2011.
• The ban has taken effect in mid-2012, with certain uses exempted for five additional years.
• The victims were reported to be affected in Kerala’s Kasargode after Endosulfan was aerially sprayed by state owned company on cashew plantations adjoining habitats where the victims are located.
• In 2011, the Supreme Court had passed an order to ban the production, distribution and use of the agrochemical.
What: Stated by Supreme Court
When: 10 January 2017