The Centre has ruled out limiting testing of genetically modified crops to greenhouses.
The environment ministry, in an affidavit before the Supreme Court, advocated the current practice of confined field trials for safety evaluation of GM crops.
The government's position came in response to an affidavit by anti-GM activist Aruna Rodrigues, who wanted all GM trails to be conducted indoors.
The court had asked the Centre to spell out its stand after Rodrigues and Gene Campaign sought a ban on open field trails, alleging possible irreversible effects on non-GM crops.
"The Centre's stand is unfortunate," Devender Sharma, food and agricultural policy analyst, said.
The government said proper evaluation of GM crops in greenhouses was not possible as there were many characters that needed to be scientifically studied, which could not be done under controlled conditions.
"For expression of any trait, irrespective of it being a GM or conventional crop, it needs to be evaluated in real time natural conditions, that are field conditions," the government said.