CHENNAI: The State of Madhya Pradesh, through its Additional Director of Agriculture, has moved the Madras High Court with a writ petition seeking quashing of an order, dated February 5, 2016, of the City-based Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB).
The February 5 order, among other things, held that the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), a statutory body in New Delhi, is entitled to get Geographical Indications (GI) tag for Basmati rice in respect of the area and region specified in the certified copies of the maps annexed with its GI application No 145 and consequently, the Assistant Registrar, GI Registry, Chennai, shall proceed with the registration and issue the certificate of registration within four weeks.
The writ petition came up before the first bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh on Wednesday. The bench ordered notice to the IPAB, APEDA, Assistant Registrar of GI and others. It also directed that, till a decision is taken on the writ petition, no precipitating action will be taken by APEDA in respect of the produce from the State of Madhya Pradesh quo the existing areas where such rice is alleged to have been growing.
Petitioner’s senior counsel submitted that the issue of inclusion of certain areas of MP as Basmati rice growing areas would have to be examined by the Assistant Registrar of Geographical Indications in view of the impugned order of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) and there were already directions to conclude that aspect within six months.
The issue which is sought to be raised before the Bench, as per the submissions made, is that certain States have been included in toto, while actually what should have been included was certain specified areas of those States where the cultivation of Basmati rice goes on. It is the counsel’s contention that such a plea was not capable of being raised in the proceedings before the Assistant Registrar of GI and can be raised before this court as a consequent of the impugned order. APEDA senior counsel stated that the petitioner never assailed the earlier order of the Assistant Registrar of GI dated December 31, 2013 and had thus lost the right to raise the issue as otherwise they could always raise it before the Assistant Registrar of GI, subject to the meeting of the terms and conditions required for raising such an objection.
The aforesaid is the limited controversy which will have to be examined by this court as agreed to by both the sides. Let counters be filed by the parties to the case restricting to the aforesaid aspects within three weeks, the bench said. Rejoinder if any be filed within two weeks thereafter, the bench added and posted the matter for April 5.