CHAPTER VI: FARMERS’ RIGHTS
39. Farmers’ rights.—
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act,—
(i) a farmer who has bred or developed a new variety shall be entitled for registration and other protection in like manner as a breeder of a variety under this Act;
(ii) the farmers’ variety shall be entitled for registration if the application contains declarations as specified in clause (h) of sub-section (1) of section 18;
(iii) a farmer who is engaged in the conservation of genetic resources of land races and wild relatives of economic plants and their improvement through selection and preservation shall be entitled in the prescribed manner for recognition and reward from the Gene Fund:
Provided that material so selected and preserved has been used as donors of genes in varieties registrable under this Act;
(iv) a farmer shall be deemed to be entitled to save, use, sow resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under this Act in the same manner as he was entitled before the coming into force of this Act:
Provided that the farmer shall not be entitled to sell branded seed of a variety protected under this Act.
For the purpose of clause (iv), “branded seed” means any seed put in a package or any other container and labelled in a manner indicating that such seed is of a variety protected under this Act.
(2) Where any propagating material of a variety registered under this Act has been sold to a farmer or a group of farmers or any organisation of farmers, the breeder of such variety shall disclose to the farmer or the group of farmers or the organisation of farmers, as the case may be, the expected performance under given conditions, and if such propagating material fails to provide such performance under such given conditions, the farmer or the group of farmers or the organisation of farmers, the case may be, may claim compensation in the prescribed manner before the Authority and the Authority, after giving notice to the breeder of the variety and after providing him an opportunity to file opposition in the prescribed manner and after hearing the parties, may direct the breeder of the variety to pay such compensation as it deems fit, to the farmer or the group of farmers or the organisation of farmers, as the case may be.
40. Certain information to be given in application registration.—
(1) A breeder or other person making application for registration of any variety under Chapter III shall disclose in the application the
information regarding the use of genetic material conserved by any tribal or rural families in the breeding or development of such variety.
(2) If the breeder or such other person fails to disclose any information under sub-section (1), the Registrar may, after being satisfied that the breeder or such person has wilfully and knowingly concealed such information, reject the application for registration.
41. Rights of communities.—
(1) Any person or group of persons (whether actively engaged in farming or not) or any governmental or non-governmental organisation may, on behalf of any village or local community in India, file in any centre notified, with the previous approval of the Central Government, by the Authority, in the Official Gazette, any claim attributable to the contribution of the people of that village or local community, as the case may be, in the evolution of any variety for the purpose of staking a claim on behalf of such village or local community.
(2) Where any claim is made under sub-section (1), the centre notified under that sub-section may verify the claim made by such person or group of persons or such governmental or non-governmental organisation in such manner as it deems fit, and if it is satisfied that such village or local community has contributed significantly to the evolution of the variety which has been registered under this Act, it shall report its findings to the Authority.
(3) When the Authority, on a report under sub-section (2) is satisfied, after such inquiry as it may deem fit, that the variety with which the report is related has been registered under the provisions of this Act, it may issue notice in the prescribed manner to the breeder of that variety and after providing opportunity to such breeder to file objection in the prescribed manner and of being heard, it may subject to any limit notified by the Central Government, by order, grant such sum of compensation to be paid to a person or group of persons or governmental or non-governmental organisation which has made claim under sub-section (1), as it may deem fit.
(4) Any compensation granted under sub-section (3) shall be deposited by the breeder of the variety in the Gene Fund.
(5) The compensation granted under sub-section (3) shall be deemed to be an arrear of land revenue and shall be recoverable by the Authority accordingly.
42. Protection of innocent infringement.—
Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act,—
(i) a right established under this Act shall not be deemed to be infringed by a farmer who at the time of such infringement was not aware of the existence of such right; and
(ii) a relief which a court may grant in any suit for infringement referred to in section 65 shall not be granted by such court, nor any cognizance of any offence under this Act shall be taken, for such infringement by any court against a farmer who proves, before such court, that at the time of the
infringement he was not aware of the existence of the right so infringed.
43. Authorisation of farmers’ variety.—
Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (6) of section 23 and section 28, where an essentially derived variety is derived from a farmers’ variety, the authorisation under sub-section (2) of section 28 shall not be given by the breeder of such farmers’ variety except with the consent of the farmers or group of farmers or community of farmers who have made contribution in the preservation or development of such variety.
44. Exemption from fees.—
A farmer or group of farmers or village community shall not be liable to pay any fees in any proceeding before the Authority or Registrar or the Tribunal or the High Court under this Act or the rules made thereunder.
For the purposes of this section, “fees in any proceeding” includes any fees payable for inspection of any document or for obtaining a copy of any decision or order or document under this Act or the rules made thereunder.
45. Gene Fund.—
(1) The Central Government shall constitute a Fund to be called the National Gene Fund and there shall be credited thereto—
(a) the benefit sharing received in the prescribed manner from the breeder of a variety or an essentially derived variety registered under this Act, or propagating material of such variety or essentially derived variety, as the case may be;
(b) the annual fees payable to the Authority by way of royalty under sub-section (1) of section 35;
(c) the compensation deposited in the Gene Fund under sub-section (4) of section 41;
(d) the contribution from any national and international organisation and other sources.
(2) The Gene Fund shall, in the prescribed manner, be applied for meeting—
(a) any amount to be paid by way of benefit sharing under sub-section (5) of section 26;
(b) the compensation payable under sub-section (3) of section 41;
(c) the expenditure for supporting the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources including in-situ and ex-situ collections and for strengthening the capability of the Panchayat in carrying out such conservation and sustainable use;
(d) the expenditures of the schemes relating to benefit sharing framed under section 46.
46. Framing of schemes, etc.—
(1) The Central Government shall, for the purposes of section 41 and clause (d) of sub-section (2) of section 45, frame, by notification in the Official Gazette, one or more schemes.
(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section (1), the
scheme may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:—
(a) the registration of the claims for the purposes of section 41 under the scheme and all matters connected with such registration;
(b) the processing of such claims for securing their enforcement and matters connected therewith;
(c) the maintenance of records and Registers in respect of such claims;
(d) the utilisation, by way of disbursal (including apportionment) or otherwise, of any amounts received in satisfaction of such claims;
(e) the procedure for disbursal or apportionment by the Authority in the event of dispute regarding such claims;
(f) the utilisation of benefit sharing for the purposes relating to breeding, discovery or development of varieties;
(g) the maintenance and audit of accounts with respect to the amounts referred to in clause (d)