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THE Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition by multinational chemicals giant Syngenta challenging the government’s decision to allow rival firm Crystal Phosphates to import a key insecticide and sell in India, currently exclusively sold here by the MNC.

   A single-member Bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhatt dismissed Syngenta’s petition, observing that the plea filed by the Swiss MNC was “speculative” in nature and the court could not intervene in the government’s policy decision.

   “The court is of the opinion that the litigation was speculative as the attempt was clearly to invite the court to make a policy declaration, which could not have been made under any circumstances,” said Justice Bhatt, dismissing the Swiss MNC’s petition.

   The court also imposed a cost of Rs 3.75 lakh and directed it to pay to Crystal within four weeks.

   In its petition, the Swiss firm had challenged the decision of a committee of the ministry of agriculture to grant the registration of insecticide molecule Emammectin Benzoate (5%) SG to Chrystal on a host of issues including an abridgement of its intellectual property rights.

   Emammectin Benzoate is used in a number of crops, including sugarcane, cotton and wheat. Currently, only Syngenta is selling this insecticide in India.

   A Syngenta spokesperson said the company may move the Supreme Court against this verdict.

   A Syngenta executive maintained: “The action by Syngenta (moving to the HC) was taken in an effort to protect the substantial investment made in the development of Emamectin. The basis of our action was what we saw to be the inconsistent application of regulation which could undermine Syngenta’s proprietary rights."

   The court said: “The pendency of the proceedings has also resulted in prejudice to the third respondent (Crystal), who was constrained to give an undertaking not to give effect to its registration that has subsisted all this while."

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