New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought within two weeks the Centre’s response on a plea against field trials of genetically modified (GM) mustard.

The apex court has repeatedly told the Centre to take a well-informed and well-intentioned decision on the commercial rollout of GM mustard and the safety aspects surrounding it.

In September last year, the Centre told the apex court that it was considering various aspects and was yet to take a final call on the commercial release.

The court was hearing a batch of pleas led by environmentalist Aruna Rodrigues challenging the commercial rollout of GM mustard and open field trials, citing health risks.

Rodrigues also sought the court’s direction to constitute a commission of inquiry to submit a report on the field trials and application process for GM mustard.

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

Also read: India freezes requests to commercially release GM mustard

The environment ministry’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has approved commercial production of GM mustard, which brings India a step closer to allowing GM food crops. With this, it will become the first transgenic food crop to be commercially cultivated in India. Right now, only GM cotton is cultivated in the country.

Also read: India asks Bangladesh for details about Mahyco’s Bt brinjal

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