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GM crops: Centre's response sought on 10-yr ban proposal

The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Union Government’s response to an interim report submitted by the Technical Expert Committee, recommending a 10-year moratorium on field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops.

A bench of Justices Swatanter Kumar and S.J. Mukhopadhaya refused to pass any interim order on the basis of the report after different parties, including the Union Government submitted that they objected to the report.

Additional Solicitor General H.P. Raval, appearing for the centre, conveyed its disagreement with the conclusions drawn by the committee. He submitted that the interim findings are inconclusive and without any scientific basis.

In its report, the court appointed five member panel said, "The TEC is of the view that a  period of ten years is a reasonable length of time for restructuring and operational sing of a  strengthened regulatory regime, developing  a cadre of experts in areas of relevance to food safety evaluation, environmental  impact assessment etc. "

During the hearing, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner Aruna Rodrigues, sought direction for banning any field trials of GM crops during the Rabi season. He referred to examples in the USA of damage to biodiversity due to such trials.

                                                                               Deccan Herald, New Delhi, 30th October, 2012