Whether genetically modified (GM) crops effect human health or not or the crop has any adverse impact on the environment would now be in public domain.
The Central Information Commission on Friday directed the Department of Bio-Technology (DBT) to share data generated from the tests carried on genetically modified (GM) crops by bio-tech companies, holding the contention of international NGO Greenpeace that such information should be available for public correct.
Hearing an appeal filed by Greenpeace, Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah directed the DST officials to provide information on all aspects of the tests as soon as possible. He also rejected the DST’s contention that the information falls under Section 8.1 (d) of the RTI Act stating that the information can be provided under section 4.1 (d) of the Act.
In February, last year, Greenpeace, has filed an application under the Right to Information Act, requesting the Department to make public the toxicity and allergenicity data for GE brinjal, rice, mustard and ladyfinger. The Review Committee on Genetically Modified (RCGM) crops refused to divulge the data on the grounds that disclosure of the information would harm the competitive position of the third party, in this case, the company making the GE crops.
Commenting on the order, Aruna Roy, of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI), said, "this exceptional case before the Commission has paved the way for the RTI Act to establish the right of citizens to access information regarding industry and its impacts. “The people have a right to analyse the information and see the nature of its impacts on their lives,’ she said.
Mr. Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for Greenpeace, termed the order as ‘significant’ as it brings the decisions of RCGM in public view. “No GMOs must be released till we have put in place a transparent system in place with an independent regulator with no conflict of interests,” he said.