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Seed Legislation


The basic purpose of seed legislation and its subsequent enforcement is to regulate the quality of seed sold to farmers.


Seed legislation can broadly be divided into two groups:

  1. Sanctioning legislation
  2. Control legislation

Seed Legislation in India

The rapid development of agricultural production with the introduction of hybrid varieties of maize, jowar and bajra, and dwarf varieties of wheat and paddy, however, necessitated the enactment of seed legislation. On 29th December 1966, the Seeds Act was passed. It came into force throughout the country on 2nd October 1969.

The main features of the Seeds Act, 1966

1. Applicability

It is applicable only to notified kinds/varieties of seed and vegetatively propagating materials used for sowing.

2. Sanctioning legislation

The Act provides for the formation of an apex advisory body, namely, the Central Seed Committee; the Central Seed Certification Board; establishment of Seed Certification Agencies; and Central and State Seed Testing Laboratories, etc.

3. Regulatory legislation

The Act provides for the provisions for notification of kinds/varieties to be brought under the purview of the Seeds Act; regulation regarding the sale of seed; and the establishment of a suitable seed law enforcement machinery. Under the Act the Central Govt. is empowered to make rules to carry out the purposes of the Act and to give directions to State Govt. It necessary, for carrying into execution, in the state concerned the provisions of the Act or Rules.

Regulatory Legislations

Notification of kinds or Varieties

The Central Government after consultation with the Central Seed Committee can issue notification for such kinds/varieties for which it is of the opinion that it has become necessary or expedient to regulate the quality of seed to be sold for the purposes of agriculture. The notification brings such kinds/varieties under the purview of the Seeds Act.

Regulation of Sale of Notified Kinds/Varieties

Under Section 7 of the Act, the seeds of notified kinds/varieties can be sold in containers only, if they are either (a) labeled or, (b) certified and meet the minimum prescribed requirements.

Statutory Requirements for Sale of Seed

  1. Labeled Seed

The seed container shall be labeled in the following manner. The colour of the label shall be buff.

  1. Kind
  2. Variety
  3. Lot number
  4. Date of test
  5. Inert matter percentage
  6. Pure seed percentage
  7. Other crop seed percentage
  8. Weed seeds percentage
  9. Germination percentage
  10. Net content
  11. Seller’s name and address
  12. If treated, then either of the following two statements should appear on the label.

Other Requirements

  1. No person can sell, keep for sale, and offer to sell, barter or otherwise supply any seed of any notified kind/variety after the validity period recorded on the container, mark or label has expired.
  2. No person can alter obliterate or deface any mark or label attached to the container of any seed.
  3. Every person selling, keeping for sale, offering to sell, bartering or otherwise supplying any seed of notified kind or variety under Section 7 shall keep over a period of three years a complete record of each lot of seed sold, except for this, any seed sample may be discarded one year after the entire lot represent by such sample has been disposed of.

Kinds or Varieties

Under Section 17 of the Act, no person shall, for the purpose of sowing or planting by any person, export or import or cause to be exported or imported any seed of any notified kind or variety, unless:

  1. It conforms to the minimum limits of germination and purity specified for that seed under clauses (a) of Section 6; and
  2. Its container bears, in the prescribed manner, the mark or label with the correct particulars there have specified for that seed under clauses (b) of Section 6.

Sale of seed

The seed inspectors, possessing prescribed qualification, appointed by the State Governments through notification in the official Gazette are responsible for Seed Law Enforcement in their respective areas. The State Governments will also notify State Seed Laboratories and State Analysts where the samples drawn by seed in drawn by seed inspectors can be tested under the supervision of the State Seed Analyst.

Penalties for offenders

The person who contravenes any provision of the Seeds Act or any rule thereunder, or prevents a seed inspector from taking a sample under this Act, or prevents a seed inspector from excising any other power conferred on him by, or under, the Seeds Act, on conviction is punishable:

  1. For the first offence with a fine which may extend to five hundred rupees; and
  2. In the event of such a person having been previously convicted of an offence under this section, with imprisonment for a term which may extend upto six months, or with a fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
  3. Forfeiting of property. When any person has been convicted under this Act, for the contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or the Rules made thereunder, the seed in respect of which the contravention has been committed may be forfeited to the Government.
  4. Offences by companies. Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company every person who, at the time the offence was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to the company for the conduct of the business of the company as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.