Supreme Court directs registry to send reminder to DLSA to submit report on medical facilities for victims
In a plea of contempt favored by endosulfan victims alleging that the state of Kerala failed to pay compensation of 5 lakhs, the Supreme Court on Friday instructed the Registry to issue a reminder to the Secretary of the District Legal Services Authority, Kasaragod, to submit their report, which they were required to file with the Court under the Order of August 18, 2022. The relevant secretary has been requested to file it before the next filing date.
At the last opportunity (18 August 2022), the Supreme Court had ordered the Secretary of Legal Services Authority of Kasaragod District, Kerala to visit medical and health facilities at various levels including district hospitals, general hospital, community health care centers, primary health care centers, assigned to treat endosulfan victims in the district and submit a situation report within 6 weeks. The purpose of the exercise was to enable the Court to have an objective assessment of the medical and healthcare facilities provided to endosulfan victims.
Such an order was adopted at the last hearing date after considering the submissions of lead counsel PN Ravindran, representing the applicants, that there is a serious lack of infrastructure and facilities for the treatment of victims of endosulfan. In this regard, he had asked the Supreme Court to appoint a commission, which could visit the relevant facilities in the endosulfan-affected area of Kasaragod and provide a situation report to the Court.
On Friday, Senior Solicitor Mr Jaideep Gupta appearing on behalf of the State of Kerala informed a bench consisting Judges DY Chandrachud and Hima Kolhi that according to the office report, the report of the secretary of the Kasaragod district legal services authority has not yet been filed.
Previously, the Apex Court had expressed its displeasure that the State paid compensation only to 8 victims (who were petitioners before the Court) out of 3704 victims and that too late. He had ordered the State to pay them (the applicants) costs of Rs 50,000 each within 3 weeks from the date of the order. The Supreme Court was furious that even when the order to pay compensation was issued on 10.01.2017 and 5 years had passed, the state had only paid the 8 claimants and not the other claimants. Even the amount paid to the petitioners was paid after the contempt motion was filed. He had observed orally –
“The Kerala state government cannot do this. These 8 victims moved the court and they gave them compensation but not the others. They are victims of endosulfan. Some of them have cancer, others are mentally handicapped. Why do these poor people have to come to Delhi for justice? You have to do it yourself. Our judgment is from 10.01.2017, 5 years have passed.”
Apart from compensation, the state government had also been instructed to look into the possibility of providing assistance to deal with lifelong health issues, given the large number of people affected.
The case will then be listed on November 25, 2022.
[Case Title: Baiju KG v. Dr VP Joy Conmt. Pet (C) No. 244/2021]
Click here to read/download the order