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The Seeds Act, 1966

A Central Government’s legislation ‘The Seeds Act, 1966’ was enacted in the year 1966 and the provisions of this Act were given effect from 2nd October, 1969. The Act was extended to the entire Indian states. The Object and purpose of the Act is to provide for regulation of quality of seeds which are being sold for Agricultural purpose. Such regulation was aimed to be brought by providing compulsory labelling and Voluntary Certification thereof. The preliminary provisions provided for short titling, extension, application and also for various definitions.

The Central Government is empowered under this Act to constitute a Committee namely, ‘Central Seed Committee’ for advising the Central and State Government on the matters of administration of this Act and also for performing other functions under this Act. Such Committee is consisting of Chairman and other eight persons and also there is also a single member from each State, all of which are to be nominated by the Central Government. The provisions regarding term of office, etc. are also given under this Act.

Further, the Act also makes provisions as to establishment of ‘Central Seed Laboratory’ by the Central Government and also ‘State Seed Laboratory’ by the State Government by notifying in the Official Gazette.  Section 5 of the Act dealing with the provision empowering Central Government to notify and declare any necessary kind or variety of seeds to be sold for agricultural purpose, after having consultation with the Committee. Similarly, that Government also empowered to notify the minimum limits or germination and purity relating to any seed or even it can specify to mark or label for indicating such seeds conforms to minimum limits or germination and purity as has been specifies herein above.

Section 7 deals with the provision as to regulating  the sale of seeds of notified kinds or varieties. It provides for restrictions upon the person engaged in business of selling, etc. of seeds of such kind and variety as has been notifies herein above. Such persons are required to follow the provision and conditions provided under this Section.

The Act further provides for establishment of Certification agency by the State or Central Government for performing the functions provided under thereunder which are to be performed by the Certification Agency. Such agency are to established by the concerned Government by notifying the same in the Official Gazette.

The Act was amended by the Act 55 of 1972 by which certain provisions like section 8A to 8E were included under this Act. The establishment of Central Seed Certification Board by the Central Government is provided under section 8A which is for advising the concerned Government on certification matters. The said Board should comprise of Chairman and other 20 members which will be notified by the Central Government. The Board is empowered to appoint Committees for performing delegated powers and functions. The Board can also provides for bye-laws making procedures of its own or for such Committee with the prior approval of the Central Government.

The Certification agency is vested with authority to grant certificate to the persons engaged in selling or otherwise desirous in such business, on their application. Moreover, the Certification agency can also revoke the certificate which is granted as aforesaid, on its being satisfying that the same was obtained by misrepresenting as to any significant fact or otherwise, the certificate holder has failed to comply with the conditions on which the certificate was granted to him or even if he has breached the provisions of this Act, etc. Appeal provisions is also provided under this Act, where a person feels aggrieved by any order of Certification authority in respect of grant or revocation of certificate.

Further, for the purpose of analysing the Seeds, the State Government is authorized under section 12 of the Act, to appoint necessary and qualified persons as Seed Analysts and also the jurisdictions in which such Analysts to exercise their powers. Also section 13 requires the State Government to appoint Seed Inspectors who should be the public servant as provided under the provisions of Indian Penal Code, 1860. And such Seed Inspectors to exercise powers under section 14 of the Act on the matter given therein. Similarly, the procedure which such Seed Inspectors to follow is given in next provision under the Act.

Further provisions in the Act are also important so far as they are in relation to impose restriction on export and import of seeds which are of notified kinds or varieties. There are certain conditions given under which only, the persons can deal with import or export of any such seeds, which include confirmation of minimum limits of germination and purity as has been specified herein above and bearing the marks or label as aforesaid on the container. Similarly, any seeds Certification agency which is of foreign country registered can be recognised under this Act by the Central Government.

The Act also makes penal provisions under section 19, wherein it is provided that, every persons who violates the provisions of this Act or rules made under this Act, or even does other preventing acts which is to prevent the Seed Inspector performing under this Act should be liable to award punishment under this provision. The punishment under this provision can extend to 6 months imprisonment or even with 1000 rupees fine or with both imprisonment and fine. Similarly, if such offender found violating the provisions as aforesaid, then the seeds in connection to which such breach was committed can be taken as forfeited to the Government. Section 21 defines offence committed by Company and persons liable thereof. An immunity is given against suits or other legal proceedings to the Government or even to any officers thereof if they are in good faith or in pursuance to this Act doing anything.

For having implementation of the provisions of this Act or rules therein, in any State the Central Government is empowered to direct the State Government accordingly. The Central Government is also empowered to make rules under this Act, for the purpose of this Act and on the matters enlisted in the provisions or clauses of section 25 of the Act.

Besides, this Act, there several legislation and rules on this topic, including Seed Rules, 1968; Seed (Control) Order, 1983; New Policy on Seed Development, 1988; Plants, Fruits & Seeds (Regulation of import into India), 1989, The PPV & FR Act, 2001; Essential Commodities Act including Seeds, 1955; National Seed Policy, 2002, etc. to take care of seeds right from the production to marking, labelling and marketing levels to maintain the quality standards as prescribed by the Central Seed Committee.

by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.