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Supreme Court bans Endosulfan for 8 weeks
Slamming the manufacturers of Endosulfan pesticide for selling a product having negative impact on human life, the Supreme Court bannned production, sale and use of it for eight weeks. An expert committee will submit a report on impact of Endosulfan

The Supreme Court on Friday banned production, sale and use of controversial pesticide Endosulfan in the country for the next eight weeks. A bench headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia slammed the manufacturers for ignoring their "corporate social responsibility" and investing in business without ascertaining the product's impact on the human life.

The bench also directed the statutory authorities to freeze the production licence granted to the manufacturers of the controversial pesticide till further court order.

"Human life is more important than anything else," the bench said, while directing the government to constitute an experts' committee comprising two sub-committees. While one committee would be headed by Indian Council Medical Research (ICMR) director general and the other would be chaired by agricultural commissioner.

The expert panel has to submit a report on impact of use of Endosulfan on human life within eight weeks. If the panel concludes that the pesticide needs to be banned, it has to specify how the existing stock could be eliminated in phases. The panel also needs to find out the alternate to Endosulfan for the use of agricultural purposes.

The court's ban order was based on the various Suprme Court judgments delivered under Article 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution and the "precautionary principle" laid down by the court.

When the manufacturers argued they had license under the law to produce the pesticide, the bench shot back: "Article 21 is a higher statute and, therefore, state laws can be set aside. We are not going on any public opinion. If even a single child dies during this period (till the experts' report is submitted) we are not to be at fault. The death of a child is irreversible." The bench brushed aside objections by the manufacturers and a group representing farmers, stating no agriculturist had opposed the use of Endosulfan. "If the farmers have not paid heed to it, doesn't mean the court should close its eyes," the bench retorted.

Source: Hindustan Times