Draft pesticide Bill not worth the paper it’s written on
As I write this column, I am mindful that I may receive a legal notice from the Centre for Environment and Agrochemicals or the Crop Care Federation of India. These organisations, representing pesticides manufacturers and formulators, have been sending us legal notices for many years. We utter the word pesticides and they send a legal notice or file a case literally. The latest case is a criminal defamation suit against some of us in the Mumbai Sessions Court for a minor typographical error in an article published in Down To Earth magazine in April 2012. In the article on pesticide residues in vegetables, instead of parts per billion, parts per million was printed in one place. An erratum was published, and yet the Crop Care Federation of India went ahead and filed the defamation case against us. The pesticide industry has frequently used SLAPP—Strategic Lawsuit against Public Participation—to browbeat scientists and activists into silence. They send legal notices or file cases against people who speak against pesticides. But, this has not deterred some from raising legitimate concerns regarding pesticides.