Kathmandu, July 9
Three writ petitions were filed today in the Supreme Court seeking issuance of an order directing the government to lab-test imported fruits and vegetables, and those produced locally, for pesticides and other chemicals, before they are sent to the market.
Advocates Swagat Nepal and Narayan Prasad Duwadi jointly filed a writ petition while other two petitions on the issue were filed separately by advocate Kanchan Krishna Neupane and advocate Bishnu Timalsina of Consumer Protection Forum.
Writ petitions were filed after the government backtracked from its decision to lab-test imported fruits and vegetables for permitted levels of pesticides, at border points.
The petitioners have claimed that the government’s decision had put fundamental rights of Nepali citizens, including consumer rights and right to health, at risk. They have said decision to not check for pesticides would affect maternal and child health and child development. They have also stated in the petition that it was the responsibility of the government to use appropriate technology to test for harmful pesticides or chemicals in imported fruits and vegetables.
Following pressure from traders, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies had revoked its decision to check for pesticides in fruits and vegetables, imported from India. The decision was endorsed by the Cabinet meeting on July 4, citing lack of technical preparations.
A version of this article appears in print on July 10, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.