CASE STUDY/ States power to fix Sugarcane price/ impact of amendmt to SUGARCANE (CONTROL) ORDER, 1966

by MANOJ SASIDHARAN
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The article examines as to how the Essential Commodities (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2009 promulgated by the Union and the consequent amendment to Sugarcane (Control) Order 1966, impact the power of the States to fix minimum price of Sugarcane which was a power recognized by the Apex Court as it stood as on the date of the amendment.

In order to determine answer to the above issue, the legislative situation prior to the amendments in question was examined, especially as declared by the Apex Court from time to time. Thereafter the changed scenario was considered to gauge the impact of the amendment on the pre existing legislative situation.

The study concludes as follows:

 The very constitutional principles that the Apex court applied in its Judgment in U.P. Co-operative Cane Unions Federations Case to arrive at the conclusion that States have power to fix SAP, now, in the changed scenario will operate against the States powers,

 The price for cane fixed by the CG is no more SMP and is in the nature of a price Higher than a minimum price, i.e., F&RP. Thus the field for fixing higher price is now firmly occupied by the CG. Since the CG has occupied the field for higher price, the competence of the State to fix higher price is now abated being hit by the constitutional interdiction contained in Article 254 as discussed in the beginning of this note,

 The act of the Union in occupying a field available to it and is recognized as such even by the Constitutional bench of the Apex Court can at no stretch of imagination be considered as an invasive act into the territory of the States legislative domain (more so where the matter relates to the Concurrent list).

 The Union does not restrict the State from exercising available powers in terms of the Concurrent list. The constitution permits the Union to occupy a territory covered by the State in so far as Concurrent List is concerned. It has done so. This does not mean that it has usurped any of the powers of the State or has restrained it in any way.

 The Union Government may very well give directions in whatever nature it deems fit where it is a matter relating either to the legislative or executive domain of the Union. Courts cannot entertain any challenge of those directions.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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