Madhya Pradesh plea seeking GI tag for Basmati rice dismissed

Madhya Pradesh’s attempts to join the elite ‘Basmati’ league has failed once again as the Madras High court has dismissed the state’s plea seeking geographical indication (GI) tag for Basmati rice grown in areas falling under the state.
A division bench of Justices R Subbiah and C Saravanan also refused to quash an order passed by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) granting GI certificate for basmati to Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
The court noted that for a same produce, two GI certificates of registration cannot be issued and precisely that is the reason why Madhya Pradesh has approached the court.
“At the same time, we have to observe that the petitioners have an alternative and efficacious remedy available by filing an application to the registrar of trade mark seeking to cancel or vary the GI certificate issued to APEDA,” the bench said.
The issue pertains to an order passed by IPAB on February 5, 2016 granting GI certificate for basmati in APEDA’s favour.
Aggrieved, Madhya Pradesh contended that such GI tag cannot be awarded to APEDA as some regions falling under MP which also produce Basmati has been omitted in the list provided by APEDA.
However,the IPAB rejected its claim observing that the documents and evidence filed by Madhya Pradesh show the importance, special characters of rice cultivated in the state but not Basmati cultivation in the traditional growing area.
Challenging the rejection and the order granting GI for basmati in favour of APEDA, Madhya Pradesh moved the present appeal.
In May 2010, GI status was given to basmati grown only in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand and parts of western Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
Madhya Pradesh moved a statutory opposition demanding that its 13 districts be recognised as traditional basmati growing regions.
The 13 districts of Madhya Pradesh which have been excluded from the tag are Monera, Vidisha, Bhind, Raisen, Gwalior, Sehore, Sheopur, Hoshangabad, Datia, Jabalpur, Shivpuri, Narsinghpur and Guna.
According to Madhya Pradesh, these 13 districts had been growing basmati for several decades and they were located in the Indo-Gangetic plains having climatic condition favourable for cultivation of basmati.
Non-inclusion of the state in the basmati growing areas would have an adverse effect on the lives of farmers who mainly depend upon basmati cultivation, it said.