THE BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ACT, 2002

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The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 considered to be a federal enactment was formulated on February 5, 2003 which came into force on October 1, 2003. The main intent of the legislators was to preserve the organic and natural diversity and different varieties of biological species in India. The Act also provides a tool for the equitable distribution of benefits that are obtained from these traditional resources and traditional knowledge. The Act further aims to comply with the Convention on Biological Diversity concluded at the auspices of the United Nations on June 5, 1992 to which India is a signatory. The Convention confirms the supreme rights of the States over the genetic and organic resources.

The biological diversity according to the Act means the variability between the living resources and the part of their environmental intricate and the diversity among the organisms and their bionetwork. A biological resource includes plants, micro organisms and related species, animals or flora and fauna except human genetic substances. The persons specified under the Act are banned from obtaining any genetic or biological resources prevalent in India or the use of these resources for the business activities or conducting survey without the prior authorization of the National Biodiversity Authority. The non citizens, non resident Indian citizens, body corporate and the foundations or organizations shall obtain approval from the Authority to carry out the activities provided under the Act.

The outcome of the research dealing with biological or genetic resources performed in India for monetary benefits shall not be transferred by any person without the prior permission of the National Biodiversity Authority. But such person shall have the right to publish the research papers or present the research paper in any workshops or symposium in conformity with the instructions of the Central government. Moreover, the provisions provided under the Act do not concern to collaborative research projects.

Whereas, the collaborative research projects which are based on the contract entered before the enforcement of the present Act shall be void to the extent of its inconsistency with the provisions or principles of the present Act. Hence, the collaborative research projects shall be in compliance with the instructions and policy decisions of the Central Government and also with the authorization of such Government.

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The person who desires to obtain intellectual property right for the biological or genetic resource acquired from India, shall take the prior sanction of the National Biodiversity Authority before filing an application for this matter. The persons entitled for the utilization of the biological resource for business purposes shall give prior indication to the State Biodiversity Board.

Additionally, the Act provides an important function on the Central Government for the constitution of National Biodiversity Authority. The Authority shall consist of a Chairman, representatives from the Ministry of tribal affairs, Ministry of environment and forests, biotechnology department, science and technology, ocean development etc. The members shall also consist of scientists having special knowledge in the field of preservation of biological and genetic resources and sustainable exploitation of these resources. To deal with agro biodiversity, the Act authorizes the National Biodiversity Authority to establish a committee to perform the functions under the Act more effectively.

The Authority is entrusted with certain functions to regulate the activities mentioned under the Act, grant sanction, advice the Central and the State Government on issues dealing with conservation of organic resources and take necessary steps to restrict the granting of intellectual property rights if necessary.

The Act further empowered the concerned State Government to establish State Biodiversity Authority. The State Government is assigned the duty to guide the State Authorities on protection of biodiversity, issuing sanction for the utilization of biological resources for commercial activities and such other functions entrusted by the State Government. The Central Government shall formulate National Strategies Plan for the efficient management and utilization of biological diversity. The local bodies shall establish Biodiversity Management Committee to implement the provisions of the Act at the grass root level.

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The Biological Diversity Act is an all-inclusive legislation that protects the biological resources as an intellectual property. The intellectual property rights have attained new dimensions in the municipal laws and international legal principles in the era of globalization. India has taken an effective step for the conservation of genetic and organic resources of the nation with international standards. The Central Government has also framed The Biological Diversity Rules, 2004 for the proper accomplishment of the provisions of the Act.