Ban on trials of GM crops to continue
THE TIMES OF INDIA, 12 May 2007
NEW DELHI: The GM industry has nothing to cheer about. SC [Supreme Court] has not vacated its order on fresh field trials of genetically modified crops.
The apex court has only allowed ongoing and earlier approved trials to continue, while not vacating the ban that it had imposed in an interim order of September 22 2006, banning any fresh field trials of GM crops.
The court, in its order, said, "The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) shall take sufficient precautions to see that these (ongoing and already approved) trials are not causing any contamination to the cultivation in the neighbouring fields."
In order to pin down responsibility in case of any mishap, the court said: "In all trials that are being conducted, the name of the scientist and other details of who will be responsible for all aspects of the trials should be reported to GEAC and there should be regular supervision by them."
The court, in fact, tightening the leash on the government, has also ordered that the government release data on any tests of toxicity and allergenicity that may have been conducted on the four species of Bt Cotton already approved by the government. The precedent setting order has elated the green groups as they have been constantly asking for such data to be put out in the public domain.
Meanwhile, the lawyer for the petitioners in the case, Prashant Bhushan, has sent a legal notice to the environment ministry for the ‘misinterpretation’ of the SC order by minister of state for environment and forests, Namo Narain Meena.
In a speech, the MoS was quoted as saying, "The stay on Genetic Engineering Approval Committee has been vacated today (May 9) during judicial hearing."