Farmers Must Be Given Full Opportunity To Oppose Any Monopoly Created By Registering Plant Varieties Under PPV Act: Delhi HC

Update: 2023-12-04 05:28 GMT
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The Delhi High Court has observed that the farmers are to be given full opportunity to oppose any monopoly which may be created by registering of plant varieties under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001, as new plant varieties. Justice C Hari Shankar said that farmers' rights are a pre-eminent consideration that has to guide the approach of the court...

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The Delhi High Court has observed that the farmers are to be given full opportunity to oppose any monopoly which may be created by registering of plant varieties under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001, as new plant varieties.

Justice C Hari Shankar said that farmers' rights are a pre-eminent consideration that has to guide the approach of the court while administering the provisions of the enactment.

The court added that the Act aims at striking a balance between the rights of farmers and accelerated agricultural development in the country which requires protection of plant breeders' rights.

Furthermore, the court observed that the persons who seek to oppose the application seeking registration of new plant varieties under the Act have to be made aware of all details of the application and details of the purportedly newly developed plant varieties in respect of which registration is sought.

It is obviously for this reason that Section 18 of the PPV Act contains an exhaustive and comprehensive list of the details which are required to be submitted with every application. While examining the nature of the information which is required to be submitted in accordance with Section 18 of the PPV Act, the Court has to be guided by the preambular provisions of the Act, and the necessity of protecting farmers' rights,” the court said.

Justice Shankar made the observations while dealing with a bunch of pleas relating to applications filed by various entities seeking registration of new plant varieties stated to have been developed by them under the Act.

The court quashed the advertisements issued by the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority in respect of the applications, except four plant varieties which were already registered.

An application for registration of a plant variety, once filed has to be accepted and advertised. After the advertisement, persons who desire to oppose the registration of the plant variety may file their oppositions to the application.

The court observed that the mandate to register the plant variety after advertisement, where no sustainable opposition to registration has been raised, presumes that the plant variety has already successfully weathered DUS testing prior to advertisement.

To hold that DUS testing need not precede advertisement of the plant variety and that, even after advertisement, DUS testing could be conducted and registration refused if the test result is adverse, would, therefore, entirely rewrite the statutory scheme,” the court said.

It added: “The merits of the application, as well as the oppositions of these petitions, would be holistically concerned by the Registrar, who is directed to take a decision in the matter as expeditiously as possible and, at any rate, within 6 months from today. The petitioners would be at liberty to raise all contentions available in law.”

Title: NUZIVEEDU SEEDS PVT. LTD. v. THE PROTECTION OF PLANT VARIETY AND FARMERS RIGHTS AUTHORITY AND ORS and other connected matters

Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 1213

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