New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) A decision on the commercial release of Genetically Modified (GM) mustard crop in the country will be taken by September, the Central government told the Supreme Court on Monday.
A division bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said it will hear the pleas challenging commercial release of GM mustard, if the central government allows its roll-out.
Taking into consideration that the sowing season of mustard begins in the month of October, the bench posted the matter for September.
The court was hearing a batch of pleas challenging the commercial rollout of GM mustard and open field trials citing health risks.
Earlier, the government was given was asked by the court to apprise it as to by when it will take a “well-informed and well-intentioned” policy decision on the roll-out.
Mustard is one of India’s most important winter crops, which is sown between mid-October and late-November.
Seeking the implementation of the recommendations of the Technical Expert Committee, petitioners, environmentalist Aruna Rodrigues and others, have sought direction for inquiry and report on the field trials and application process of GM mustard crops.
Seeking a moratorium on the commercialisation of any other GM crop, they have said that genetically modified crops should not be released in open until there was a “comprehensive, transparent and rigorous biosafety protocol in the public domain conducted by agencies of independent expert bodies, the results of which are made public”.
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