NOTE: There's been a further victory for Aruna Rodrigues and her co-petitioners in their legal challenge (Public Interest Litigation - PIL) to the astonishingly lax (and some would even say corrupt) regulation of GM field trials in India. No field trials should now be conducted until the issues identified below are addressed.
As many of you are aware, there was a Supreme Court Hearing on the GMOs PIL by Aruna Rodrigues and others this morning.
The petitioners had put in an Interim Application with evidence pointing out that
* even basic institutions mandated under the EPA 1989 Rules like State Biotechnology Coordination Committees (SBCC) are missing in many states or are non-functional since the time of constitution in a few others, even as open air field trials are happening across the country for nearly a decade now.
* that the GEAC is stepping out of the May 8th 2007 Supreme Court orders in terms of considering newer "events"/GM crops than were allowed during May - September 2006 whereas the SC orders of May 8th specify otherwise
* that the additional biosafety conditionalities imposed by the Court in terms of designating scientists for each trial, contamination testing for every trial etc., are routine, quite possible to be taken up and that the regulators should demonstrate that such safeguards are well in place, in compliance with the May 8th Orders (so far, there is a demonstrated absence of any such compliance)
* that the contamination testing should happen in an open scientific manner with correct sampling and statistically valid samples to ensure zero contamination and for that to happen, the protocols have to be announced in the public domain including bonafide reference materials, laboratories where such testing would take place etc.
* that environmental, toxicity and allergenicity data related to all 9 crops being field tested should be put up in public domain ....
In today's hearing, the Court issued notice to the Union of India [ie the central government] to respond to this interim application of the petitioners and also directed the respondent to put up allergenicity and toxicity data on their website. This is for your information. For more information, contact Ms Aruna Rodrigues, Petitioner, on 098-263-96033.