Abusive act Under Section 24(5) of the Plant Varieties Act itself found to be Abusive

In a landmark judgment passed by the Division Bench comprising of Justice R. Bhatt and Justice R K Gauba passed on December 2, 2016, it has declared Section 24(5) of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act as void. Nuziveedu Seeds and Kaveri Seeds had challenged the provisions of Section 24(5) of the PPV&FR Act which was opposed by MAHYCO MONSANTO and Pioneer Overseas.

Section 24(5) of the PPV&FR Act provides that once an applicant/breeder files an application for protection of its variety, it can also file any application under this provision for an Abusive act. The said provision was more in the nature of provisional protection as granted under the Patents Act. The challenge was on the ground that the provision, though provides a mechanism for prevention of any abusive act, but is prone to abuse itself. There may be Farmers' Varieties for which a corporate or any breeder can file an application for registration and thereafter seek a relief of injunction against the actual breeder or Farmer. It is also against the provision of law, since the period of protection can be more than the statutory period (Statutory Protection is granted from the date of Registration) and thus any interim protection would be contrary to legislative intent. Further, the provision would also lead to abuse since the Registrar may have wide discretionary powers to pass any order and the Act does not define what is an "Abusive act" nor does it provide the nature of order that can be passed.

After considering the above arguments, the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi has held that the provision under Section 24(5) of PPV&FR Act is Void and is liable to be struck out of the Act.