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Taking stern note of the State of Kerala’s reluctance to follow its earlier order, the Supreme Court has ordered that four Endosulfan victims be given a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh each.
The order was passed by a Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee in a contempt petition filed by the four affected persons.
The use of the insecticide Endosulfan in cashew plantations had caused grievous health problems for residents of Kerala’s Kasargode district. The petitioners’ children were also among those affected.
The Kerala government had passed a Government Order (GO) in December 2012 setting out the compensation to be given to victims of Endosulfan. It was the petitioner’s contention that the said GO has not been implemented till date.
Importantly, the petitioner had cited a Supreme Court order of January 10, 2017, as per which the Court had directed the State government “to release the entire undisbursed payment of compensation, quantified as Rs.5 lakhs each, to all the affected persons, within three months.”
This, the petitioner had contended, was willful disobedience of the Supreme Court’s order and amounted to contempt of court. The Supreme Court had sought the State government’s response in the matter.
After perusing the affidavit filed by Kerala, the Supreme Court noted that there was no doubt that each of the four individuals fell in the category of affected individuals. The fact that they are undergoing treatment as a result of being affected by Endosulfan clearly indicates that they are entitled to compensation as ordered by the Court on January 10, 2017, the Court observed.
In the circumstances, there is no justification for the Government of Kerala to categorize these four individuals in the ‘other’ category and to deny them the payment of compensation, the Court held.
The Court, therefore, ordered that the compensation of Rs. 5 lakh be released to the natural guardians of the affected children within two months.
Liberty was also granted to the counsel for the petitioners to apply for a revival of the contempt proceedings if the above direction was not complied with.
Advocate Kaleeswaram Raj appeared for the petitioners, while Standing Counsel G Prakash represented the State of Kerala.
Image taken from here.