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Delhi HC affirms farmers’ rights in plant variety registration

New Delhi, Dec 4 (IANS): Delhi High Court has observed that farmers must be given a full opportunity to oppose any potential monopoly created by registering plant varieties under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001.

Justice C Hari Shankar stated that the pre-eminent consideration should be the rights of farmers when administering the provisions of the Act.

The court noted the Act’s objective of striking a balance between farmers’ rights and promoting agricultural development, which necessitates the protection of plant breeders’ rights.

It further noted that individuals opposing the registration of new plant varieties must be made aware of all details related to the application and the purportedly newly developed plant varieties.

While dealing with pleas related to applications for the registration of new plant varieties, the court quashed advertisements issued by the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority, except for four plant varieties that were already registered.

The court clarified that once an application for plant variety registration is filed, it must be accepted and advertised, allowing those who wish to oppose it to file their objections.

The court also stressed the importance of DUS (Distinctiveness, Uniformity, and Stability) testing before advertisement, stating that altering this statutory scheme would be inappropriate.

The Registrar was directed to consider the merits of the application and oppositions holistically, aiming to make a decision within six months. The petitioners were also granted the liberty to raise all legal contentions in the matter.



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