The Centre would take a decision by September whether or not to allow plantation of genetically modified (GM) mustard.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) PS Narasimha, appearing for the Centre, told the bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar that the government is looking into recommendations given by technical experts on the issue.
"A final decision will be taken by the Centre, for which at least a month and half time is required," the ASG said, adding that the sowing period starts in October.
Allowing the submission, the bench said: "If you do it before you start allowing the plantation, we will hear the matter in the 2nd week of September."
Fixing the hearing for September second week, Chief Justice Khehar said that as the mustard sowing season began in October, any decision favouring the rollout would come into effect after the court examined it
The Bench had granted time to the Centre to apprise it as to by when it will take a “well-informed and well-intentioned” policy decision on the roll-out.
On October 17 last, the court extended the stay on the commercial release of GM mustard crop until further orders. It had restrained the commercial release for 10 days on October 7.
The court had asked the Centre to seek public opinion on such seeds before releasing it for cultivation purpose, even as government approval is awaited.
Mustard is one of India’s most important winter crops, which is sown between mid-October and late November.
Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner Aruna Rodrigues, alleged that the government was sowing the seeds in various fields. The bio-safety dossier had to be put on the website, which has not been done yet, he said.
Bhushan alleged that field trials were being carried out without doing relevant tests. He sought a 10-year moratorium on them. A Technical Expert Committee (TEC) report had pointed out that the entire regulatory system was in shambles and a 10-year moratorium should be given, he said.