The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the Kerala government three months to disburse Rs 500 crore as compensation for over 5,000 persons who suffered from various deformities, health complications and lost family members after using Endosulfan pesticides in the state.
A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar also asked the state to consider setting up a centre to provide lifelong medical treatment to all the victims. It hoped the government would look into the feasibility of making such a facility available.
The state government, the court said, was at liberty to take necessary measure to recover compensation paid to victims from the Centre through appropriate proceedings.
The directive came while the bench disposed off a public interest petition filed by Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) in 2012, which complained about the adverse effects of Endosulfan.
Both the Centre and Kerala were opposed to the ban of the pesticide due to their effectiveness on pests, but the top court stopped its usage in 2012.
Earlier, a Supreme Court-appointed high-powered expert committee had revealed that 13.35% of registered pesticides, including Endosulfan, posed serious health hazards, especially to the reproductive system, and could also lead to congenital deformities.
The panel had recommended the phasing out of the controversial pesticide over a span of two years instead of destroying it through incinerators, since the latter would have cost over Rs 1000 crore to the exchequer. Senior experts, including the director general of health services, member secretary of the Central Pollution of Control Board and the director of the National Institute of Occupational Health were members of the committee.