A Writ petition filed by Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Co Pvt. Ltd. (hereafter ‘Petitioner’) has been allowed by the Delhi High Court and it has been clarified that Rule 39 of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Rules, 2003 (hereafter ‘the said Rules’) is a special rule relating to renewal of Plant variety registration and provides for the renewal fee to be computed. The Registrar of the Plant and Varieties has been directed to accept the renewal fee as computed under Rule 39(1)(a) for renewing the registration of the plant varieties.
The facts of the case are as follows: –
- The petitioner had applied for registration of two wheat varieties referred to as ‘W6001’ and ‘W6301’;
- The varieties were registered on 21.12.2009 vide registration No. 118/2009 and 119/2009 respectively;
- On 26.08.2009, the Central Government issued a notification, notifying the annual fee to be paid for registered varieties under the Act;
- In compliance with the said fee structure, the petitioner paid the annual fee of ₹2,000/- for each of the two registered varieties for the period 21.12.2009 to 02.09.2015;
- On 17.12.2015, the petitioner applied for renewal of the registrations in the prescribed Form (PV-6). The petitioner also remitted a renewal fee of ₹18,000/- for each of the two registered varieties. The said amount was computed in accordance with Rule 39 of the said Rules.
- On 30.12.2015, the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority sent a letter calling upon the petitioner to pay the renewal fee for the extended period of registration at a flat rate of ₹80,000/- per year for each variety for renewal of the registration (as per Second Schedule of the said Rules).
- The petitioner contested the aforesaid demand and reiterated its position that renewal fee was required to be calculated as per Rule 39(3)(a) of the said Rules, and not in accordance with the Second Schedule of the said Rules. The petitioner was afforded an opportunity of being heard in this regard and its contention was rejected by the impugned Order.
- The Petitioner challenged said order in a writ before the Delhi High Court.
The Court allowed the Writ and held that clarified that Rule 39 of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Rules, is a special rule for the renewal fee to be computed. The Court held that the Second Schedule would not override the provisions of Rule 39 of the said Rules for, essentially, two reasons:-
- Rule 39 of the said Rules is a special rule relating to renewal of registration and by applying the maxim of generalia specialibus non derogant, that is, a special shall override the general, Rule 39 of the said Rules would override the Second Schedule.
- The Second Schedule is an adjunct to Rule 8 of the said Rules and provides the Schedule of fees as payable under Rule 8 of the said Rules. However, Rule 8 of the said Rules does not specifically mention payment of renewal fee. Therefore, although the Second Schedule to the said Rules provides for the renewal fee, there appears to be no provision under Rule 8 of the said Rules, which requires that fee to be paid.