KATHMANDU, June 17: The Supreme Court on Tuesday continued its July 10 stay order directing the government to conduct pesticides residue test compulsorily on vegetables and fruits imported to Nepal from India and other countries.
A division bench of justices Hari Krishna Karki and Bam Kumar Shrestha decided to continue the stay order issued earlier by a single bench of Justice Ananda Mohan Bhattarai on July 10.
The apex court issued its order following two days of hearings on whether or not to continue stay order on various public interest litigation (PILs) filed challenging the government decision to stop pesticide residue test. The petitioners had argued that the government decision to stop the tests would jeopardize the public’s health.
On July 10, giving a short-term stay order, Justice Bhattarai had summoned the government authorities to attend the hearing to decide whether or not to continue the stay order. The hearing into the case was conducted on Monday and Tuesday with the participation of the government representatives and the writ petitioners.
Three separate petitions had been filed earlier stating that the government’s decision to backtrack on its earlier decision to conduct pesticide residue test was a violation of fundamental rights. They maintained that the decision of the government on July 3 to stop the pesticide residue tests had raised serious question on the overall provisions of the constitution and the laws relating to the rights of the public.
Various groups of lawyers representing different organizations– Independent National Campaign by advocates Swagat Nepal and Narayan Prasad Dawadi; Consumer Rights Protection Forum by Bishnu Prasad Timilsina and advocate Kanchan Krishna Neupane—had filed the petitions seeking the apex court intervention against the government decision.