The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to spell out the measures taken to prevent contamination of indigenous crops varieties by open field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan also asked the government to respond within four weeks to the allegations levelled by anti-GM crop groups that there was no proper mechanism to regulate it.
The court issued the directions after advocates Prashant Bhushan and Sanjay Parikh, representing petitioners Aruna Rodrigues and Gene Campaign; said open field trial of GM crops could have irreversible adverse effect on indigenous crops.
Bhushan said the US had to stop such open field trial of GM rice after contamination of its non-GM paddy crops and several countries had banned rice import from it. Such trial should be conducted only under green house conditions, as it has adverse impact on the ecology, he added.
Maintaining that rules for regulating open field trials of GM crops were not sufficient, Parikh requested the court to direct the government to frame proper guidelines.
Activist Aruna Rodrigues and Gene Campaign filed separate petitions in 2004-05 opposing open filed trials of GM crops in India and the court has issued several directions on the issue since then.
Open field trials of several GM crop verities, including BT Brinjal and Tomato is going on with the permission granted by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee.