Court issues notice to government on GM food tests
New Delhi : The Supreme Court Friday issued a notice to the union government on a public suit, seeking annulment of the government's order that exempts genetically modified foods and crops from mandatory laboratory tests.
A bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice R.V. Raveendran sought the government's response by Feb 19 on the lawsuit filed by social activist Vandana Shiva.
Shiva apprehended that the Sep 11 notification, which allowed the sale, import and production of genetically modified foods and crops - without mandatory clearance of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) - could play havoc with public health.
Shiva, who is also an environment scientist, contended that the government has illegally granted a blanket exemption from testing as the law required proper approval and sanction by a competent authority before the food products reached the public.
"While most countries are banning GM products after considering its serious health hazards, the centre on the other hand is opening the floodgates of GM foods by relaxing and diluting the limitation imposed by the Environment Protection Act," advocate Pinki Anand, appearing for Shiva, said.
She contended that the relaxation in the rules would result in a dangerous situation where the country would be used as a dumping ground by multinational companies.