Disgraceful news from India about a US attempt to "educate" the Indian judges who could have a key role in determining the issue of genetic engineering in Indian agriculture:
"The delegation invited the Chief Justice to the U.S. and offered tohold for the judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court "workshops" in America for educating them about transgenics, and safety protocols in biotech research."
Similar attempts have apparently been made in a series of other countries.
Many thanks to Alistair Smith of BLINK for forwarding Devinder Sharma's alert.
A private TV Channel had sought my comment the other day to the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) demand to let the issue of genetic engineering be finally decided by the Indian Supreme Court. The CII's suggestion was in light of the recent uprooting of the Monsanto-Mahyco's Bt cotton plants from a farmers plot in Karnataka, in south India. I did not quite understand the relevance of the question till I saw the following news report the very next day.
This certainly is most deplorable. We all need to condemn this in the strongest possible language.
Devinder Sharma Forum for Biotechnology & Food Security, New Delhi, India.
Transgenics: US Team meets Chief Justice of India
By Gargi Parsai
From: The Hindu, New Delhi/Chennai/Hyderabad; India.
New Delhi, January 5: A new chapter was added today to the controversy on genetic engineering, when an American delegation of 10 judges and scientists met the Chief Justice of India, Mr. Justice A.S. Anand to impress upon him -- to the judicial fraternity, the benefits of biotechnology.
This was revealed here today by Dr. Franklin M. Zweig, president of Einstein Institute for Science, Health and the Courts in the United States at the Indian Science Congress here. Asked pointedly, Dr. Zweig denied that the two-hour meeting was to "influence" the judiciary, but said it was to "educate" the judge(s) about the basic principles of public information for use of courts and court systems.
The delegation invited the Chief Justice to the U.S. and offered to hold for the judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court "workshops" in America for educating them about transgenics, and safety protocols in biotech research. Mr. Justice K.T. Thomas was also present at the meeting. The delegation was accompanied by Dr. Melnick, Indian-born US Scientists.
The US delegation explained about its intention to work out agreements between nations to set Ethical Guidlenines on genetic engineering. Similar attempts had been made by the working groups of the Institute in the Philippines, South Africa, Israel, Italy, the UK, Netherlands, and Canada.
The point about "a partnership with the legal system" was picked up by other panelists and the facilitator, Dr. Manju Sharma, Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT). India is working out a protocol on biosafety to safeguard against the risks involved in transgenics and Dr. Zweig said that the US was seeking scientific information from Indian academica institutions and the DBT on this.#