The Centre on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court with a request to vacate its order banning all new field trials for Genetically Modified (GM) crops in the country.
Additional Solicitor General Amarendra Sharan mentioned the Centre’s application before a Bench headed bhy Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and sought an early hearing of the matter.
Sharan pointed out that the order restraining the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) from clearing pending applications had brought all field trials and fresh approvals for commercialization to a grinding halt. He urged the court to vacate the order as it was adversely affecting biological research in the country.
The ASG said this was all the more necessary as sowing season would end by mid-April and it was necessary to make available to the farmers the new and improved variety of Bt Cotton Hybrids suitable to Northern Region of the country.
However, the Bench said the matter was already fixed for hearing on April 16 and there was no need to advance it.
Association of Bio-tech Crop Manufacturers has also filed a similar application.
The Centre said only M/s Mahyco- Monsanto, M/s J K Agri Genetics and M/s Nath Seeds Pvt Ltd were suppliers of Bt Cotton technology at present and if public-funded institutions were not allowed to conduct field trials needed for commercial release, it would create a monopoly. It would be disadvantageous to farmers and scientists, it added.
The Centre wanted the court to allow GEAC to grant approvals after following due procedures. Generally it takes several years for approvals as the the product has to pass various tests under a rigorous procedure.
The court had on September 22 banned all fresh trials for GM crops on a PIL filed by Aruna Rodrigues challenging the procedure for granting permission for field trials.