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Developmental Issues

The government on Monday informed the Supreme Court that a policy decision on the commercial release of the Genetically Modified (GM) mustard crop is yet to be finalised.

The Centre said it was poring through the various suggestions on and objections to the commercial rollout of the GM crops.

A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, granted the government one week to report back on when the policy would be finalised. It said the policy should be good-intentioned and well-informed.

The court had on October 17, 2016, extended the stay on the commercial release of the GM mustard until further orders. It had asked the Centre to collect public opinion before the release.

The government had assured the court that there would be no commercial release of GM seeds till the views of the public were collected and placed before the appraisal committee.

Sowing without safety

The hearing was conducted on the basis of a petition filed by activist Aruna Rodrigues, who had alleged that the government was sowing GM seeds without the relevant tests.

Mustard is one of India’s most important winter crops, sown between mid-October and late November.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Ms. Rodrigues, alleged the government was sowing the seeds in various fields and that the bio-safety dossier, which has to be made public by putting it on the website, had not yet been done.

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