Home / Politics / Policy /  Supreme Court to hear GM crops litigation on 22 April

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has pushed back its hearing on a public interest litigation (PIL) on controversial genetically modified (GM) crops from Tuesday to 22 April, Rajesh Krishnan, convenor of Coalition for a GM-Free India said.

The apex court had set up a six-member technical expert committee while hearing a petition against field trials of GM crops.

The committee had suggested an indefinite moratorium on such trials unless shortcomings in the regulatory process were addressed. However, one member gave a dissenting note opposing the moratorium. The Supreme Court then asked the government to submit its stand on this issue.

However, in the meantime, environment minister M. Veerappa Moily had approved confined field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops in February, saying there was no embargo from the Supreme Court.

A government committee on 21 March cleared the way for companies to conduct confined field trials on 11 varieties of GM crops with a caveat that the trials will have to be cleared by the respective state governments first.

The genetic engineering appraisal committee (GEAC), which met after a year, cleared proposals to conduct GM trials on four varieties of rice, two each of wheat and cotton, and one each of maize, sorghum and groundnut.

Opponents of GM crops say field trials can contaminate both food and seed supply chains, which could damage both human health and the environment.

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