The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the Kasargod District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) of Kerala to inspect the medical and hospice facilities that are provided to victims of the poisonous pesticide Endosulfan in the district at primary health care centers and submit its report in six weeks. The pesticide endosulfan was widely used on crops like cashew, cotton, tea and fruits until 2011, after which its production and distribution was banned due to several reports of adverse effects on the ‘man.
A panel of Judges DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna said the exercise would help him to have an objective assessment of the medical and healthcare facilities provided to endosulfan victims in Kasargod district. The bench said: “In order to enable this Court to have an objective assessment of the medical and health care facilities that are available to the endosulfan affected areas of Kasaragod at various levels, including district hospitals, general hospitals, community health care centers and primary care centers. Health Care Centers, we order the Secretary of the Kasaragod District Legal Services Authority to submit a report to this Court.” He said that the secretary of DLSA will submit his report after visiting existing health facilities and establishments regarding palliative care and physiotherapy. “The report will cover the endosulfan affected areas of Kasaragod district in Kerala including district hospitals, general hospitals, community health care centers and primary health care centers,” he said. he declares. He asked Senior Attorney Jaideep Gupta, representing the State and Registrar (Judicial) to forward a copy of the court order to the Secretary, DLSA, Kasaragod. “All relevant state government authorities should cooperate with the DLSA Secretary in providing necessary information and other logistical support to facilitate site visits to the facilities. The report must be submitted within six weeks,’ he said and scheduled the case for a rehearing on October 21. to each of the more than 3700 victims was done. Lead Counsel PN Ravindran, appearing on behalf of the claimants (endosulfan victims), argued before the bench that there was no grievance regarding the work rendered by the Kasaragod district health authorities, but the limitation stems from the lack of appropriate infrastructure for the treatment of endosulfan victims. He said they attached a report titled “Analysis of the Situation of Health Facilities for Endosulfan Victims in Kasaragod” to the affidavit filed in response to the state affidavit. Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj has said that similar compensation relief will be awarded to endosulfan victims in parts of Karnataka and it appears the High Court is monitoring it. Justice Chandrachud asked Nataraj to file the High Court orders in this regard and said if the High Court was monitoring it had nothing to do with it. On May 13, the Supreme Court arrested the Kerala government for failing to pay compensation of Rs five lakh to each of the endosulfan victims and ordered the chief secretary to hold monthly meetings and assure them of the medical help needed. The higher court was hearing a contempt motion filed by eight victims and said the state government is not acting unless a contempt motion is filed.
“As of the date of rupees, five lakh has been disbursed to just eight people who approached the court. We do not understand the rationale for the state government to pay compensation only to those who have the resources to go to court,” he said. He had said that a large number of victims had not been compensated despite the order passed five years ago.
He had noted that the state government decided on January 15 to disburse an amount of Rs 200 crore to compensate 3,704 endosulfan victims.
Noting the Affidavit of Compliance, he said that it indicated that there were 3,704 endosulfan victims to whom compensation should be awarded, including 102 bedridden victims, 326 mentally disabled, 201 physically disabled and hundreds of them suffer from cancer and the rest 2966 fall into the residual category.
The High Court had ordered “The cost of Rs 50,000 must be paid to each of the eight persons within eight weeks of this order. The Chief Secretary will hold monthly meetings to ensure that the judgment of January 10, 2017 is implemented diligently by undertaking the process of identifying the victim of endosulfan, ensuring the payment of compensation of Rs five lakh to each of the victims, taking steps to ensure the necessary medical facilities in accordance with the previous guidelines.”
The plea had sought to initiate contempt proceedings against the state government for willful disobedience to the highest court order dated January 10, 2017 and order to establish a medical facility in the district of Kasargod to provide care to the victims.
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