NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court in its April 25 order has set aside the Centre's decision to restrain production of Basmati rice only to the Indo-Gangetic plains in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, part of Uttar Pradesh and some parts of Jammu and Kashmir (J &K) on the pretence of maintaining the quality and purity of seeds.
Two Office Memorandums (OMs) and a letter issued by the Ministry of Agriculture through which the Geographical Indication (GI) of Basmati was restricted to the Indo-Gangetic region in these seven states which meant that only the rice grown in these specified regions would be termed as basmati rice and the seeds so produced for Basmati cultivation could not be grown outside have also been set aside by the Delhi High court.
The State of Madhya Pradesh had claimed that the thirteen districts in the State of Madhya Pradesh should also be included in the GI for Basmati Rice. Since the Madhya Pradesh had contended that the OMs go against the provisions of the Seeds act, the court also carefully examined the scope and the ambit of the act.
“It is apparent from the above that the scope and ambit of the Seeds Act is focused on regulation of sale of seeds of notified kind or varieties, and the object is to ensure that the notified seeds conform to the standards as specified under Section 6 of the Act, with regard to the minimum limits of germination and purity, as well as with regard to the mark and the labels specified. 34. The Seeds Act is not concerned with where and how the seeds are used.
Once a person dealing with notified variety of seeds conforms to the requirement of Section 7 of the Seeds Act, there is no restriction as to where and how the crop is to be grown. The Seeds Act is limited to ensuring that the seeds available to farmers conform to the minimum limits of germination and purity and the marks or label affixed thereon correctly indicate so."- The order reads
The judgment was delivered by Justice Vibhu Bakhru.