Published on: December 04, 2023 at 12:39 IST
In a recent development, the Delhi High Court has underscored the crucial role of farmers in opposing any potential monopoly arising from the registration of plant varieties under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001.
Justice C Hari Shankar emphasized the pre-eminent consideration of farmers’ rights that should guide the court’s approach when administering the provisions of the Act.
The court highlighted the Act’s objective of striking a balance between farmers’ rights and the imperative of accelerated agricultural development, necessitating the protection of plant breeders’ rights.
Justice Shankar asserted that those opposing the registration of new plant varieties must be fully informed about the details of the application and the purportedly newly developed plant varieties.
The court noted the exhaustive list of details required under Section 18 of the PPV Act, emphasizing that the court’s examination of this information should be guided by the Act’s preambular provisions and the need to protect farmers’ rights.
Justice Shankar made these observations while addressing multiple pleas related to applications seeking registration of new plant varieties.
The court quashed advertisements issued by the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority for applications, except for four plant varieties that were already registered.
Once an application for the registration of a plant variety is filed, it undergoes acceptance and advertisement. Subsequently, individuals interested in opposing the registration may file their objections.
The court clarified that the presumption, upon advertisement, is that the plant variety has successfully passed the Distinctness, Uniformity, and Stability (DUS) testing.
The court rejected the notion that DUS testing could be conducted after advertisement and registration refused if the test result is adverse, stating that it would rewrite the statutory scheme.
The Registrar was directed to holistically consider the merits of the applications and objections and make a decision expeditiously, within six months.