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The Bombay High Court has partially set aside an order of Principal Secretary (Agriculture) of Maharashtra suspending the licence of Krishi Rasayan Export in respect of insecticides traded by the company.

Justice S C Dharmadhikari upheld last week the order to the extent of suspending the licence for insecticide ‘Ethephon’ from June to December 2012.

“It is not possible to brush aside the findings of the authorities in relation to Ethephon… authorities had material which denotes that the product could not have been utilized for fruit-bearing trees,” the judge said.

“However, ultimate order suspending the license in regard to all products is beyond the show-cause notice… therefore the order to that extent requires to be set aside.”

The court held that there was substance in the argument that licence to deal in all the 51 products could not have been suspended when the dispute was only about Ethephon.

Rambhau Jagannath Dhavane, a farmer from Ahmednagar district, had used Ethephon 39 per cent SL, also known as Kripon, on grape plants, but it damaged the crop.

Acting on his complaint, the state authorities carried out an inspection and concluded that the insecticide was not suitable for fruit-bearing trees.

Government lawyer R M Patne argued that the order was valid because the company failed to address grievances of farmers and compensate them.

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