SC seeks clarifications from Govt on GMO regulation

NEWS Bulletin from Indian Society For Sustainable Agriculture And
Rural Development
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1. Supreme Court seeks clarifications from Govt on GMO regulation
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SC seeks clarifications from Govt on GMO regulation

http://www.financia lexpress. com/news/ sc-seeks- clarifications-
from-govt- on-gmo-regulatio n/439464/

ASHOK B SHARMA
Posted: 2009-03-26 19:44:27+05: 30 IST
Updated: Mar 26, 2009 at 1944 hrs IST

New Delhi, March 26:
India’s apex court has sought clarifications from three Union
ministries – agriculture, department of biotechnology (under ministry
of science and technology) and environment and forests – about
government’s regulatory process for genetically modified (GM) crops
and its implementation.

The special bench of the Supreme Court consisting of the Chief
Justice, KG Balakrishnan, Justice Ashok Ganguly and Justice JM Panchal
on Thursday in the course of the hearing acted on two rejoinders to
the petition filed by the Convenor of the Gene Campaign, Suman Sahai
in September 26, 2008 calling for a direct review of all the approvals
for field trials and commercialization of GM crops given by the
Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) and grant of moratorium
on GM crop trials until proper regulatory processes were put in place.

The apex court also sought clarifications from US seed multinational,
Monsanto’s Indian partner, Mahyco.

Gene Campaign had filed its original petition in 2004 and a year later
on the similar lines a public interest litigation was jointly filed by
Aruna Rodrigues, PV Satheesh and Rajeev Baruah. The Supreme Court has
clubbed both these cases for hearing. The next hearing of the case is
slated on April 29, 2009.

The counsel for Aruna Rodrigues and others, Prashant Bhushan said,
“The advocate appearing on behalf of the government assured that there
are no immediate plans for commercialization of Bt brinjal. The crop
is in the process of field trials.”

The counsel for the Gene Campaign, Sanjay Parekh said : “We had filed
two rejoinders to our petition last year and the apex court acting on
our rejoinders has sought clarifications from the Union ministries of
agriculture and environment and forests and from the department of
biotechnology (DBT).”

The Convenor of
Gene Campaign, Suman Sahai alleged that the field trials of Mahyco’s
Bt rice in Jharkhand has violated all biosafety norms. There was a
likelihood of genetic contamination of non-GM rice grown in the area.
This was unfortunate as the eastern India alongwith Jharkhand was
considered to be one of the centre of origin for rice, she said.
India’s approval of GM crops had also raised eyebrows in the countries
of its export destination. Russia for instance had imposed a temporary
ban on India rice and sought clarification whether GM rice was
exported.

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