the Supreme Court on August 12 issued notice to the Centre on an application seeking a moratorium on allowing the cultivation of any genetically modified (gm) crop in the country.
Hearing a pil filed by Aruna Rodrigues, P V Satheesh, Devinder Sharma and Rajeev Baruah in 2005, the court stated that gmos and seeds have potential health hazards and asked the Centre to come up with a response within two weeks. The petitioners contended that several biosafety tests that were necessary before releasing gmos into the environment were not being carried out. Hence, they said, it becomes imperative to immediately put a moratorium on further release of gmos into the environment until a comprehensive and independent testing facility was set up in the country. They also emphasized the need for a complete ban on the import of gm products. The next hearing has been slated for September.
In the meantime, complying with an earlier Supreme Court direction, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (geac) has put all information related to biosafety studies of Bt brinjal, developed by Mahyco, on its official website (see 'gm snare', p53). The information comes at a time when Mahyco is waging a court case at the Delhi High Court, against its details being disclosed to the public. The court battle follows an rti query filed by Divya Raghunandan of Greenpeace in February 2006.
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