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India's Top Court Orders Hold on Genetically-Modified Mustard Release Until Related Verdict

  • Delay beyond Sept. may defer GM mustard sowing to next year
  • Risks highlighted by activists are unfounded perceptions: Govt
Supporters of Janata Dal (United) or JD(U), protest against genetically modified mustard outside the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, in New Delhi, India, Sept. 7, 2016.

Supporters of Janata Dal (United) or JD(U), protest against genetically modified mustard outside the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, in New Delhi, India, Sept. 7, 2016.

Photographer: Saurabh Das/AP

India’s top court on Monday 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.