Centre, State can fix sugarcane price, says Supreme Court

State can set advised price: Bench

April 22, 2020 10:11 pm | Updated 10:11 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday held that both the Central and State governments have the power to fix the price of sugarcane under the Concurrent List of the Constitution.

However, the five-judge Bench, led by Justice Arun Mishra, said that even though a State cannot fix a “minimum price” if the Centre has already fixed it, the State is always welcome to fix the “advised price”.

The advised or remunerative price shall always be higher than the minimum price in accordance with the provisions of the Sugarcane (Control) Order, 1966, issued under Section 16 of the Uttar Pradesh Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply and Purchase) Act, 1953.

“The Sugarcane (Control) Order of 1966 confers power upon the State government to fix the remunerative/advised price at which sugarcane can be bought or sold, which shall always be higher than the minimum price fixed by the Central government,” said the judgment, authored by Justice M.R. Shah on the Constitution Bench.

In fact, “it is only when the advised price fixed by the State government is lower than the minimum price fixed by the Central government, the provisions of the Central enactments will prevail and the minimum price fixed by the Central government will prevail”, the court said.

“So long as the advised price fixed by the State government is higher than the minimum price fixed by the Central government, the same cannot be said to be void under Article 254 of the Constitution,” the judgment said.

The court also refused a plea to refer the case to a larger Bench.

The case revolved around a petition by the Western Uttar Pradesh Sugar Mills Association questioning whether the State government had the power to fix a minimum price when a similar price had already been set by a Central legislation.

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