Jan 26, 2012 at 09:58am IST

Why not ban asbestos, HC asks Centre

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday held that the government of India should think of prohibiting the import, manufacture and use of asbestos to prevent health hazards. “Asbestos, including the fibre and its products, is banned in all developed countries as it is known to be hazardous to health and is one of the causes of lung cancer. So India should think of its prohibition,” the court said. The court also asked the Central Government and the Customs Commissioner to file a report in this regard.
 A Division Bench comprising Justice C N Ramachandran Nair and Justice Babu Mathew P Joseph passed the order while considering a petition filed by C Muthuswami of Bangalore against the detention of a consignment of asbestos fibre at the Walayar check-post.
“Of course the raw material with which asbestos sheets and pipes are made are cheap and affordable to common man. This may be the reason that prevents developing countries like India from banning it,” the court observed.
 The court pointed out that John Varghese, counsel for Customs, informed that there was no ban on the import of asbestos fibre and related materials though they are hazardous to  health. The government should consider the prohibition of asbestos to save people from health hazards, the Bench observed and directed the registry to post the case before the Acting Chief Justice’s court which hears  PILs.