SC refuses to stop GM crop field trials

The Supreme Court Monday refused to pass an interim order restraining the Centre from going ahead with open field trials of the GM crops for the coming Rabi season.

The decision is significant in view of a recent recommendation by a committee appointed by the court to stop all open field trials of such crops for 10 years until a new set of conditions is enforced.

The Centre, however, has been opposed to any move to restrain open field trials of GM crops. Additional solicitor general Harin Raval picked holes in the report of the expert panel, asserting that it was self-contradictory.

Raval asked the Supreme Court to grant him time to counter the conclusions made in the report.

One of the counsel appearing for a government agency told the court that the open field trials would be carried out in a safe environment with all precautions.

Some other respondents too wanted time to respond to the report, after which the court asked all parties to file their responses by November 7 and fixed the next date of hearing for November 9.

The PIL has been filed by an NGO, Gene Campaign, and anti-genetically-modified organisms activist Aruna Rodrigues, who had sought a complete moratorium on field trials for GMO.

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