SC gives Kerala government four more week to comply with 2017 order to compensate endosulfan victims

Kerala government says steps initiated, agrees to give Rs 5 lakh to all survivors, irrespective of their conditions.

Published: 09th April 2022 12:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th April 2022 01:01 AM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court

Supreme Court (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

KASARAGOD: The Supreme Court directed the government of Kerala to provide Rs 5 lakh compensation to all the endosulfan-affected persons within four weeks.

The Supreme Court's direction -- third in five years -- to the state government comes on a contempt of court petition filed by eight persons officially identified as endosulfan victims.

The petition was heard by justices D Y Chandrachud and Aniruddha Bose on Friday, said P S Sudheer, counsel for the petitioners. "The court has given the government four weeks to comply with the order," he said.

The petitioners had also asked the Supreme Court to direct the State government to set up a palliative care centre at the Tata Trusts-built hospital at Chattanchal. The court said it will take up the matter at the next hearing after four weeks, advocate Sudheer said.

In its response, the state government said that it had empanelled 17 selected hospitals in Kerala and Karnataka to provide free medical treatment to the affected persons under the National Health Mission project.

Compensation saga

Up to 2017, the government had identified 6,727 persons as victims of the aerial spraying of endosulfan.

On January 10, 2017, the Supreme Court ordered the state government to pay Rs 5 lakh each to all the victims of endosulfan.

But the state government classified the 6,727 survivors into four categories: bedridden (371), those with intellectual disabilities (1,499), physical disabilities (1,189), cancer patients (699), and 'others' (2,969).
It decided to pay Rs 5 lakh each to bedridden patients and intellectual disabilities; Rs 3 lakh each to persons with physical disabilities and cancer patients.

The government was mum on compensating those classified as 'Others'.

But none of the categories were fully compensated.

Compensation worth Rs 119.14 crore was given to 3,010 survivors.

This forced four survivors classified as 'Others' to file a contempt of court petition against the state government in 2019.

In July 2019, the Supreme Court directed the state government to compensate the four survivors fully.

But instead of compensating all the affected persons, the government gave Rs 5 lakh each to only the four persons who moved the court.

This forced another eight survivors classified as 'Others' to file the second contempt petition in February this year.

This time, the government changed its position of classifying the affected persons by their conditions and compensating them differently.

In the latest compliance report filed by the chief secretary, the government said it has decided to pay a "compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to all the affected persons in accordance with the spirit of the order of the Hon'ble Supreme Court dated January 1, 2017..."

On March 15, the state government authorised Rs 200 crore to all the affected persons on the government's list of endosulfan victims.

However, the compliance report said that the survivors would be compensated only after officials of the

Health and Revenue Departments "verify their eligibility" in accordance with the present criteria for identifying victims.

To be sure, if the government has to compensate all the survivors, it would have to set aside Rs 217.06 crore. A shortage of Rs 17.06 crore means at least 341 affected persons may not be compensated even at the end of four weeks.



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