SC directs govt to clear stand on GM crop trials

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for voluntary agency Gene Campaign, said Forest and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had been meeting the public over the introduction of GM brinjal seeds in the country.

A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan asked why such field trials were not conducted in the green houses under regulated conditions. The court granted 4 weeks to the Centre to file a reply to the query.

The government had even allowed farmers in Ladakh in the Himalayas to sow genetically modified seeds without any approval from the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee since December 2008, said the voluntary agency in its earlier application.
Large-scale trials of GM seeds of rice, brinjal, okra and patato were going on without any regulation, it said. Vnadana Shiva, a social activist, claimed that GM foods were banned in most European countries as they had many adverse effects on the environment and humans.

On the last date of hearing on October 20 last, the bench had directed the government to restrict the import of genetically modified food stuff containing without examining their contents.

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