New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on a pleas seeking a moratorium on the release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment. A bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Sanjay Karol heard submissions from Attorney General R Venkataramani, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and advocates Prashant Bhushan and senior advocate Sanjay Parikh.
The top court directed the parties to file written submissions by January 22. Observing that the issue of genetically modified crops is very technical and scientific, the top court on Wednesday said it will decide a plea on the environmental release of GM mustard on the basis of what is good for the country,.
The apex court had earlier questioned the Centre about why reports of the court-appointed Technical Experts Committee (TEC) on biosafety of genetically modified (GM) crops were not looked into by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).
It asked Attorney General R Venkataramani, appearing for the Centre, whether the GEAC or a sub-committee of experts ever considered the reports filed by TEC before the October 25, 2022 decision to approve the environmental release of transgenic mustard hybrid DMH-11. The attorney general had said being a statutory body, the GEAC is not supposed to go into these reports but has considered every relevant scientific finding before giving the go-ahead for the environmental release.
The top court is hearing separate pleas by activist Aruna Rodrigues and NGO 'Gene Campaign' seeking a moratorium on the release of any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment pending a comprehensive, transparent, and rigorous biosafety protocol in the public domain conducted by independent expert bodies.