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Karnataka High Court lifts partial stay on price control of Bt cotton

In an order, the Karnataka High Court has lifted a stay on parts of a central cotton seed price control order which allowed the government to regulate royalty or trait fees being charged by technology providers. On March 21, the HC had said that the Centre could not fix royalty as it is based on mutual agreements signed by companies.

Earlier, industry body for technology providers Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises Agriculture Group (ABLE-AG) had approached the court against portions of a December 7, 2015 order of the Union Agriculture Ministry which regulated the maximum sale price of Bt cotton seeds. By this order, the government also sought to regulate royalty or trait fees charged by technology providers from seed companies.

In its recent order, the court said that it is prima facie seen that the source of power to fix the maximum sale price including trait value is available and such step is taken to see that the essential commodity is made available at a fair price to farmers.

Meanwhile, the court also rejected the contention that Bt cotton seeds were not an essential commodity.