On January 23, a three-judge Supreme Court panel led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice V. Ramasubramanian, and Justice J.B. Pardiwala ordered the Centre to submit an updated status report regarding the regulatory actions it has taken to enact a ban on harmful chemicals and pesticides that pose serious health risks to farm workers, people living nearby, and consumers.
A bewildered Bench asked the Additional Solicitor General, Mr. Vikramjit Banerjee, to submit an updated status report in order to obtain some clarity for the purpose of passing an order in light of the discrepancy in the submissions made by the petitioner and the Union Government with regard to the banning of hazardous pesticides mentioned in the petition.
Later, a request was made asking the Centre to investigate 85 pesticides in addition to the 99 pesticides that were the focus of the initial petition calling for the ban on pesticides that pose serious health and environmental risks. The application claims that the Anupam Verma committee, which was tasked with reviewing the use of 66 pesticides that were prohibited in other nations, has not even looked at the 85 pesticides. The application additionally requests that all pesticides be examined and that the review committee comprise independent health specialists who are concerned with the health effects of pesticides, representatives from state governments, and experts in ecological agriculture.
By banning 99 harmful pesticides that are used in India but have been banned by other countries and at least another six that are used in India but have been withdrawn or restricted by other countries, the petition submitted through attorney Prashant Bhushan seeks to enforce the right to health of farmers, farm workers, and consumers. In particular, Punjab, Kerala, and Maharashtra are mentioned as places where pesticide use has produced serious environmental and health hazards. The argument makes reference to studies connecting farmers' usage of pesticides with their propensity for suicide. Some of the health hazards linked to the use of pesticides include cancer, DNA damage, brain and nervous system damage, Parkinson's disease, birth defects, immunological abnormalities, and negative effects on the physical and mental development of children in farmers, agricultural workers, and their families.
Case Title: Vanashakti Vanashakti And Ors. v. UoI And Ors.
Citation: WP(C) No. 237/2017
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