The Centre told the Delhi High Court on Wednesday that it has decided to allow the continued use of 51 out of the 67 pesticides that have been banned world over, based on the recommendations of an expert panel.

The Ministry of Agriculture submitted before a Bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal that of the 51, the status of 27 pesticides will be reviewed in 2018.

Objections sought

The Centre also said that though the panel had recommended phasing out of six pesticides out of the 51 by the year 2020, a final decision would be taken after going through the objections and suggestions invited from the general public and the stakeholders.

Objections and suggestions have also been invited regarding the recommended complete ban of 13 other pesticides, the ministry told the Bench.

The government, however, has accepted the panel’s recommendation to ban use of one pesticide, fenitrothion, in agriculture.

In view of the submissions made by the government, the petitioner who had sought immediate ban on some the pesticides withdrew his PIL to file a fresh one, challenging the setting up of the panel and for constituting a fresh one.

Endosulfan ban to stay

The Centre, in its report placed before the court, has said that ban on Endosulfan would continue as it was ordered by the Supreme Court.

Regarding use of DDT, the ministry has said that it was being used by health departments in limited quantities for vector (mosquito) control programmes and any final decision to ban it would be taken after receiving comments of Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine and Storage.

The petitioner, KV Biju had alleged “conflict of interest” against the expert committee for having representatives from the pesticide industry who, it claimed, had vested commercial interest. He had contended that the panel had “heavily relied” upon the inputs of the members from the pesticide industry.

As per the petition, the expert panel was set up by the Agriculture Ministry to look into 67 pesticides which were banned in other countries but continued to be used in India.