PIL filed before the Delhi HC against the unethical actions of the pesticide lobby
K.V Biju v. Union of India and Ors.
K.V Biju v. Union of India and Ors. demands that the most hazardous Pesticides be banned with immediate effect and challenges the Union Of India Order dated 24.10.2016. In the said order the UOI accepted the recommendation that 18 pesticides be continued, 27 pesticides to be continued and reviewed in 2018, that 6 pesticides be phased out by 2020, that certain pesticides be banned for use in agriculture, that 13 pesticides be completely banned and that DDT be continued for vector control programmes etc. The petition specifically seeks for the issuance of a Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate Writ, order or direction to the respondents to order the banning, revocation of licences under section 14, prohibition of sale of the 66 insecticides under section 27 and the cancellation of registration of the 66 pesticides under section 28 of the Act.
Over the years and particularly recently, stories have been appearing in newspapers etc. on the adverse effects of pesticides on the health of ordinary people. By order dated 8.7.13, the Central Government constituted an Expert Committee to examine the continuation of the use of 66 pesticides in India. This Expert Committee consisted of 4 government officials. The Committee was allowed to co-opt experts and invite representatives of the pesticide companies.Pursuant to the order of 8.7.13 the Expert Committee invited a large number of industry representatives themselves. The 4 members of the Expert Committee instead of functioning as an independent government committee and instead of maintaining a distance from the powerful pesticide lobby that has dominated the Indian situation for a long time, basically allowed the pesticide lobby to take over the deliberations of the Committee and the ultimate decisions. Government officials were required to maintain the integrity of the deliberations by generating independent data and by ensuring that the pesticide lobby does not manipulate both the discussions and the decisions taken. Representatives of the pesticide industry were required to be invited to give their inputs only. This did not mean that the pesticide lobby was to take over completely and dominate the proceedings. Such a take over vitiated the proceedings completely. What is even more shocking is that the Expert Committee members and the co-opted members happily allowed the pesticide industry to influence its proceedings with malafide intentions. The private pesticide manufacturers became part and parcel of the Expert Committee and played a role much larger than an invitee.
That, the respondents did not give any response to the representations made by the petitioner in public spirit and the Expert committee. In that instance the petitioner herein filed a Public Interest Litigation numbered as W.P.(c) 8207/2015 before this Hon’ble Court. On 28/08/2015, W.P.(c) 8207/2015 was dismissed as withdrawn with liberty to file afresh as and when the Registration Committee takes a decision on registration. Subsequent to this the Petitioner filed another Writ Petition 8074 of 2016 before this Hon’ble Court challenging the Order of the Government. Notices have been issued to all the Respondents. The respondents in the Petition are Union of India (Respondent 1), The Secretary, Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, and The Expert Committee (Respondents 2 & 3).
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