The Punjab government has issued a gazetted notification banning 20 insecticides in the state following last week’s Punjab and Haryana High Court decision that set aside the government order. The High Court had held that a gazette notification was necessary to take the action. The ban will now remain in effect only for 60 days in view of the provisions of law, after which the government will have to extend it, but it can do so only for a maximum of 30 days. The complete ban can only be imposed by the Centre. Three private companies had challenged the government decision banning the sale of the 20 insecticides, which had been found harmful for humans and animals. The government, however, had only issued an administrative order and not a notification.
“But it can be banned only by way of a notification published in the official gazette and not by merely issuing memo/letter as has been done in the present case. Since the advocate general, Punjab, has stated that the state is issuing the notification in terms of Section 27 of the Act, therefore, the issue is decided only to the extent that the memo per se is not legal in view of the mandate of Section 27, which provides for issuance of notification in the official gazette for prohibition of sale/distribution or use of the insecticides,” Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain said.
Special Secretary, Agriculture, Vikas Garg confirmed that a notification has been issued to ban the sale of the insecticides after the High Court judgement. The government had taken the decision in view of the recommendations by a registration committee of Punjab Agricultural University and Punjab State Farmers’ Commission, which had found the use of the insecticides harmful not only to animals and human beings, but also the environment.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on January 30 had approved the ban. “Special secretary, agriculture, has issued detailed guidelines to director, agriculture and farmers’ welfare, on the regulation of the sale of tehe insecticides in the state. The director, agriculture, has also been asked to review all the licences given for these insecticides and not to issue any fresh licence ?from February 1, 2018,” the government had said in a statement after the decision. The government move had been welcomed by Centre for Science and Environment, which had asked the central government to take a similar decision for the rest of the country.