farm-acts-and-federalism

Context: Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Punjab have said they might not implement The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020. 

More about news:

  • According to the central government, The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 liberates farmers by giving them the freedom to sell outside APMCs without paying market fee.
  • The market fee, rural development fee, and arhatiya’s commission e are big sources of states’ revenue. 
    • Punjab and Haryana could lose an estimated Rs 3,500 crore and Rs 1,600 crore each year respectively due to the laws.

Federalism in Indian constitution

  • Federalism essentially means both the Centre and states have the freedom to operate in their allotted spheres of power, in coordination with each other. 

  • Article 246 deals with the 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution which specify the divisions of power between Union and States.

  • The Seventh Schedule of the Constitution contains three lists that distribute power between the Centre and states. 

    • Union list contains 97 subjects in the Union List, on which Parliament has exclusive power to legislate (Article 246); 

    • The State List has 66 items on which states alone can legislate; 

    • The Concurrent List has 47 subjects on which both the Centre and states can legislate, but in case of a conflict, the law made by Parliament prevails (Article 254). 

    • Article 254 (2) of the Constitution essentially enables a State government to pass a law, on any subject in the Concurrent List, that may contradict a Central law, provided it gets the President’s assent.

    • Article 249 gives Parliament the power to legislate concerning a subject enumerated in the State List in the national interest.

  • State of West Bengal v Union of India (1962), the Supreme Court held that the Indian Constitution is not federal. 

  • S R Bommai v Union of India (1994), a nine-judge Bench held federalism was part of the basic structure of the Constitution. 

    • The respective legislative powers are traceable to Articles 245 to 254. 
    • The Constitution is federal in structure and independent in its exercise of legislative and executive power.

The constitutionality of parliamentary laws

  • Union of India v H.S.Dhillon (1972): Constitutionality of parliamentary laws can be challenged only on two grounds —

    • that the subject is in the State List, or 

    • that it violates fundamental rights. 

  • Ram Krishna Dalmia v Justice S R Tendolkar (1958)

    • The Supreme Court will begin hearings after presuming the constitutionality of these laws; 

    • therefore, there is huge burden on states and individuals who challenge these Acts 

    • Generally, the Supreme Court does not stay the implementation of parliamentary laws. 

    • Federalism, like constitutionalism and separation of powers, is not mentioned in the Constitution. But it is the very essence of our constitutional scheme.

Image source: https://www.thestatesman.com