Home / Politics / Policy /  Supreme Court to hear plea against release of GM mustard

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a plea seeking a stay on commercial release of genetically modified (GM) mustard crop.

A bench headed by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur said the matter will be taken up for hearing on Friday.

The application, seeking prohibition of open field trials and commercial release of GM mustard was filed in an ongoing case by environmentalist Aruna Rodrigues.

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Rodrigues, told the court that there was an urgent need to stop the commercial release of GM mustard as this would cause irreversible damage to the domestic non-GM variety.

The petitioner also sought the courts’ direction to constitute a commission of inquiry to submit a report on the field trials and application process for GM mustard crops.

It was alleged that “various counts of fraud and regulatory collusion in field trials" of GM mustard crop conducted over the years in multiple locations have made its commercial release a risky proposition. The fact that the commercial release of Bt Brinjal was stopped after protests was cited.

If GM mustard gets the green light from the environment ministry’s GEAC, it will become the first transgenic food crop to be commercially cultivated in India. Right now, only GM cotton is cultivated in the country.

The apex court is also hearing Rodrigues’ contempt petition against the centre for its plans to introduce herbicide resistant mustard cotton and corn in spite of a ban.

The matter will be heard on 7 October.

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