The High Court (HC) on Sunday directed the government not to release the Bt Brinjal in markets till independent research is conducted on whether the vegetable species is harmful to public health and the environment. It directed the government not to take any further initiative before independent research is carried out in accordance with international standards set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). The CAC is a collection of international food safety standards, based in Rome and funded jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The court also asked the government to explain why it should not be directed to conduct independent research, in accordance with the international standards established by CAC. In response to a writ petition, the HC bench, comprising Justice Mirza Hossain Haider and Justice Khurshid Alam Sarker, passed the orders.
The HC also issued a rule asking the government to explain why its “failure to analyse and assess the deadly risks of this crop to public health and harm to ecological balance before releasing the Bt brinjal at markets” should not be declared illegal.
It also asked the government to explain why its failure “to formulate a law in accordance with the convention on Biological Biodiversity, 1992” should not be declared illegal.
The secretaries of the departments of agriculture, environment and health, directors general of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) and the environment department and executive chairman of the Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council have been made respondents, who have to reply to the rule within four weeks. Earlier, on September 23, the HC bench comprising Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain rejected two separates writ petitions since adequate information had not been placed before it.
-With The Independent input