Pesticides in eatables: Court notice to govts

Expressing concern over rampant use of banned pesticides in fruits and vegetables and putting at risk the life of the common man here, the Delhi High Court today sought a response from the Centre as well as the state govt.

Last Updated: Nov 03, 2010, 00:09 AM IST

New Delhi: Expressing concern over rampant
use of banned pesticides in fruits and vegetables and putting
at risk the life of the common man here, the Delhi High Court
today sought a response from the Centre as well as the state
government within a month.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice
Manmohan took suo motu cognisance over a media report and
asked the Centre and state government officials to hold, if
necessary, a joint meeting and file affidavits by December 1.
"It is difficult to perceive how the community would
react to such a situation when it is asserted that there has
been an authentic research which shows that the vegetables
and the fruits have become highly toxic because of the process
of growing and preservation," said the Bench while converting
the matter into a PIL.

"If we allow ourselves to say so, the said article is
likely to convert a normal being to a hypochondriac. It is
said hypochondria which can eventually lead to neurotic
disorders and obsessed melancholia," the court said and asked
the concerned ministries of the Centre and the state to hold
joint meetings, if necessary, so that the health hazard which
has become quite epidemic can be curbed at the very root.

Appointing senior Counsel V K Rao and Saket Sikri as
amicus curiae to assist the court in the PIL, the court
directed the government to issue a notice to NGO Consumer
Voice which has conducted a study to also assist the Bench.

According to the NGO, the farmers apply pesticides such
as chlordane, endrin and heptachor that can cause serious
neurological problems, kidney damage and skin diseases.

The amount of pesticides used in eatables in India is
as much as 750 times the European standards, the NGO claimed.

Officials said the tests conducted on vegetables at
the government-approved and NABL-accredited laboratory, Arbro
Analytical Division, revealed that the Indian ladies finger
contained captan, a toxic pesticide, up to 15,000 parts per
billion (ppb).

The vegetables covered by the study included potato,
tomato, snake gourd, pumpkin, cabbage, cucumber and bottle
gourd, among others.

-PTI