Friday, June 2, 2023

Supreme Court asks Central government to submit expert committee report on plea to ban harmful pesticides

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The Supreme Court has questioned the Union government decision to ban only three out of 27 pesticides from its draft notification.

The Supreme Court has also asked the Central government for placing on record two expert committee reports relating to harmful pesticides.

A bench headed by CJI DY Chandrachud questioned the additional solicitor general Vikramjit Banerjee for explaining the rationale behind choosing only three of the 27 pesticides to be banned.

The Court was currently dealing with a bunch of petitions that demanded ban on over 100 pesticides still in use in India despite being banned in western world for their harmful effects on children.

The ASG Vikramjit Banerjee said that Centre in its status report has explained the process of evaluation and has nothing to hide.

Talking about the petitioners for continuously expanding the list of pesticides to be banned in India, the ASG said that the court should not be used as a forum for corporate warfare.

The ASG said that there is a robust regime in place to continuously evaluate the pesticides and their effects on human beings.

He added that just because certain pesticides are banned in the USA, it does not mean these should be banned in India. Our climatic, soil and agricultural conditions are very different from the USA.

The CJI-led bench said the draft notification by the Centre was based on reports by committees headed by Dr S K Khurana and Dr T P Rajendran, which listed out 27 harmful pesticides.

The bench said that the government had accepted the recommendations and decided to ban them. What made you ban only three? We want to be satisfied about the nature of the process followed.

The ASG said the government has nothing to hide and would put the reports of the committees before the court., but questioned the evaluation of petitioner to decide which pesticide to be banned, which is clearly the exclusive work of the government

The bench asked the government to file a fresh status report explaining the process and also place on record the reports of the two committees within four weeks.

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