The Supreme Court would decide on Friday whether to impose an interim ban on the production and sale of controversial pesticide Endosulfan in the country, pending an elaborate hearing and its decision over a plea for it.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia on Wednesday directed the petitioner, CPIM's youth wing Democratic Youth Federation of India and other parties to the plea to file their respective replies by Friday to assist the court in reaching a decision on the issue.
The bench also allowed various firms producing Endosulfan to become parties to the plea against the controversial pesticide, which is said to have harmful effects on environment and human beings.
Appearing for the government, Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told the bench that it is still awaiting various scientific reports over the harmful effects of the pesticide over the human health.
The government is also looking for alternative pesticide for farmers so that their interests are not harmed.
He further said, "Before banning it, we must consider paucity of the pesticide. Whatever reports we have till now on endosulfan are inconclusive."
The apex court had earlier sought a response from the Centre on a petition seeking a ban on sale and production of Endosulfan across the country.
While issuing notices to various parties, including the Union government, the bench had also asked Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to remain present for today's hearing to assist the court.
The plea for the country-wide ban on production and sale of the controversial pesticide had been made by the Communist Party of India Marxist's youth wing Democratic Youth Federation of India.
In its petition, DYFI has sought a direction to the Centre to prohibit the sale of Endosulfan in its present form or any other derivatives in the market.
DYFI has submitted that a large section of people was directly affected because of the use of Endosulfan, already banned in 81 countries.
The petitioner said several studies had documented that Endosulfan could also affect human development.
It gave example of serious health hazards caused in Kerala's Kasaragod district.
"Researchers studying children from an isolated village in Kasaragod district have linked Endosulfan exposure to delays in sexual maturity among boys. Endosulfan is an off-patent organochlorine insecticide and acaricide.
"This colourless solid has emerged as a highly controversial agrochemicals due to its acute toxicity, potential for bio-accumulation, and role as an endocrine disruptor," the petition said.
It said Endosulfan was the only pesticide applied to cashew plantations in Kasaragod for 20 years and had contaminated the environment there.