SC Stays Release of GM Mustard

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The Supreme Court stayed the commercial release of the genetically modified (GM) variety of mustard till October 17.

The petition was filed by an Aruna Rodriguez. He had sought a moratorium on open-field trials and commercial release of all herbicide-tolerant crops such as the Dhara Mustard Hybrid DMH 11 seed, earlier certified as safe for human consumption and the environment by a technical committee under the environment ministry.

The petition also pleads the court implement a recommendation of a Supreme Court-appointed committee to stay all GM testing.

On September 5, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee had approved the environmental release of the hybrid DMH-11.

Background:

Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11 or DMH-11 is a genetically modified variety of mustard developed by the Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants.

If approved by the Centre, this will be the second GM crop, after Bt Cotton, and the first transgenic food crop to be allowed for cultivation in the country.

The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), the regulator under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) that can clear the GM mustard for commercial use in India, has sought public comments- that can be submitted till October 5- on safety aspects of the DMH-11 mustard variety.

The sub-committee in its report gave a green signal to GM Mustard stating that the technology is safe for consumption and environment.

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