India’s top court … put the commercial release of a genetically-modified mustard variety on hold until it decides on a case related to it.
A two-judge panel of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice J. S. Khehar, passed an interim order on a public interest litigation, akin to a class action suit, by activist Aruna Rodrigues against GM crops. Prashant Bhushan, advocate for Rodrigues, argued that an approval could lead to irreversible damage to the country’s bio-diversity and environment. The court is scheduled to hear the case in the second week of September.
A delay beyond September would defer sowing of GM mustard to  as farmers typically begin planting of winter-sown crops like mustard in October, Additional Solicitor General P.S. Narsimha said during the court proceedings.
A government study found health and environmental risks highlighted by activists are “unfounded perceptions and false propaganda,” according to the federal government’s affidavit in the court. Mustard production can be substantially enhanced with the genetically modified variety and that would lead to substantial savings in foreign exchange by reducing imports of cooking oils, it said.
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