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SC to hear PIL against approval for field trials of GM crops on 15 July

LiveMint logoLiveMint 09-05-2014 Shreeja Sen

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging government approval for field trials of several varieties of genetically modified (GM) crops on 15 July, it said on Friday, adding that it would like time to hear all the parties involved.

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

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

However, in February, environment minister M. Veerappa Moily gave his approval to confined field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops, saying there was no embargo from the court.

In March, the government’s genetic engineering appraisal committee also cleared the way for companies to conduct confined field trials on 11 varieties of GM crops—with the caveat that the trials will have to be cleared by the respective state governments first.

Opponents of GM crops say field trials can contaminate both food and seed supply chains, which could damage human health and the environment. The PIL has been filed by Rajesh Krishnan, convenor of the Coalition for a GM-Free India, a nongovernment organization.

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