EXTRACT: the Order of the [Supreme] Court dated 22/9/06 bars the GEAC from granting fresh approvals of field trials of any GM product. Yet, the 'approvals' listed in the 76th & 77 Meetings of the GEAC and the further approvals on your Agenda for the 78th Meeting, which include new 'gene events' of Potato, Okra, Brinjal, Corn, Rice and Bt cotton and new locations, represent a clear attempt to violate the Orders of the SC. If the GEAC goes ahead with these agenda items and proceeds to grant fresh approvals for field trials of new GM events or on new locations, it will amount to contempt of court and the Petitioners will have no option except to move for Contempt of Court.
M/s Ranjini Warrier
Member Secretary, GEAC
Ministry of Environment and Forests
Paryavaran Bhavan, CGO complex
Lodi road, New Delhi
FIELD TRIALS APPROVED BY THE GEAC SUBSEQUENT TO THE SUPREME COURT ORDER OF 8TH MAY 2007
This has reference to the 76th and 77th Meeting of the GEAC in May 2007, and the Agenda for the 78th Meeting of the GEAC to be held on the 22nd June 2007. I also refer to my letter to the Secretary, MoEF subsequent to its Press Release of the 9th May 2007, copy to the Chairman, GEAC wherein I stated: 'you must make sure that the GEAC, which is under the Ministry of Environment does not proceed to act by assuming that they are now free to grant fresh approvals for field trials of GM products. The GEAC must also be told to ensure the implementation of the restrictions which have been placed on field trials which were approved between 2 May 2006 and 22nd September 2006'.
I wish to reiterate that the Supreme Court has not vacated its injunction of the 22nd September 2006, on fresh approvals of field trials. In other words, the Order of the Court dated 22/9/06 bars the GEAC from granting fresh approvals of field trials of any GM product. Yet, the 'approvals' listed in the 76th & 77 Meetings of the GEAC and the further approvals on your Agenda for the 78th Meeting, which include new 'gene events' of Potato, Okra, Brinjal, Corn, Rice and Bt cotton and new locations, represent a clear attempt to violate the Orders of the SC. If the GEAC goes ahead with these agenda items and proceeds to grant fresh approvals for field trials of new GM events or on new locations, it will amount to contempt of court and the Petitioners will have no option except to move for Contempt of Court.
It is clarified that the Court in referring to the on-going, or 'field trials going on' in respect of the '91 field testings' of a range of vegetables, grains and Bt cotton, approved by the GEAC during the period 2-5-'06 and 22-9-'06, has put stringent conditions on such field trials.
If you can demonstrate which specific trials among these 'Approvals' have a timeframe that is still valid and which therefore require to be planted again in the current season, then these specifically remain within the Court's directive to you and may continue. However, these fresh 'plantings' if valid, must remain in the same location/s and will now be subject to the stringent conditions laid down by the SC namely:
i. The GEAC shall take sufficient precautions to see that these trials are not causing any contamination of neighbouring farmers' fields.
ii. There should be at least 200 m distance from the trial fields and neighbouring fields of the same crop.
iii. In all the trials that are being conducted, the name of the scientist along with relevant details of who will be responsible for all aspects of the trials should be reported to the GEAC and there should be regular supervision by them.
iv. Prior to bringing out the GM material from the greenhouse for the conduct of open field trials, the approved institution should submit a validated event specific test protocol at an LOD of at least .01% to detect and confirm that there has been no contamination.
Thus, any approval for field trials of transgenic vegetables and grains, as well as field trials of Bt Cotton, will represent a clear violation of the Order of the SC since they incorporate new locations/ new hybrids/ new genes/events. It is distressing to see the GEAC putting on its agenda items which indicate complete disregard of the orders of the Supreme Court, as well as total disregard of the precautionary principle enshrined in the Court's orders.
It is requested that you now provide:
a. A comprehensive list of GM field trials approved between May and Sept.2006, with their exact locations, and other relevant information as laid down by the Rules governing field trials and most importantly, the valid timeframe of each trial.
b. Provide the genetic sequences for any GMOs (above), which are being sought to be approved for field trials.
c. For these GMOs, provide the required data governing the Court's restrictions for such field trials, as mentioned in 'i- iv' above
In the meanwhile, it would be desirable for you to put on hold any other field trials, than those above, which fall outside the SC directive of what is allowed.
I would appreciate your confirmation.
Copy to: --
1. Secy. MoEF
2. The Chairman, RCGM
3. The Secretary, Department of Biotechnology
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