Tell us all about GM mustard: Supreme Court to Centre
The court asked additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta to supply scientific data to support the regulator’s approval.india Updated: Jul 24, 2017 23:25 IST
The Supreme Court told the Centre on Monday that if Genetically Modified (GM) mustard crop has an adverse impact on the other crops, it would injunct its commercial release till it decides the petition seeking a moratorium on growing the crop.
“You should undertake that you won’t plant it, rather than this court giving an order,” a bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar told additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta who said he would file a detailed affidavit to clear the apprehensions aired by the judges.
“We want to know everything about it (GM mustard). Why it is that Europe doesn’t accept it at all,” the court asked the law officer, who promised to file documents by Friday. The court said it will hear the matter again on July 31.
The bench is hearing activist Aruna Rodrigues’s petition asking for a stay on the commercial release of GM mustard crop, which was cleared by regulator GEAC. Mustard is one of India’s most important winter crops, which is sown between mid-October and late November.
Her counsel, advocate Prashant Bhushan pointed to the top court-appointed expert committee’s report and said the panel had held against cultivation of crop engineered to tolerate Herbicide, including HT Mustard and its parent lines. The Technical Expert Committee (TEC) had also said no GM seed should be allowed for which India is Centre of origin or centre of biodiversity.
Thirdly, Bhushan argued, the regulatory body is riddled with conflict of interest. Therefore, he questioned the permission granted to the commercial release of GM Mustard.
Although Mehta tried to convince the court that the government was still considering the commercial release of the crop and had not taken any final decision, the court asked him to supply scientific data to support the regulator’s approval.
“What he (Bhushan) is saying is that he is also supported by our panel’s report. Your regulator might have said yes but the committee appointed by us doesn’t approve it,” the CJI told Mehta.