The Delhi High Court has put down the decision of the Central government to restrict the aromatic basmati rice production to only seven States in the Indo-Gangetic plains.
The High Court’s decision came on the Madhya Pradesh government's plea to include 13 districts in the State under the Geographical Indications (GI) category for basmati rice.
The Ministry of Agriculture had through two Office Memorandums (OM) of May 2008 and February 2014 confined the GI certification for basmati to rice grown in the Indo-Gangetic plains in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and parts of Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
GI certification gives recognition and several protections to a basmati rice producer and help in maintaining the specific qualities of the rice grown in that particular region.
The Madhya Pradesh government contended that the two OMs were outside the scope of the Seeds Act, 1966. It additionally argued that the OMs encroach upon its power to pass laws in relation to agriculture, which is a State subject.
The 2008 OM of the Ministry set forth the standards of the ‘basmati’ variety of rice.