File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Doctrine of Repugnancy: An Analysis

The legal concept of Repugnancy is applicable in federal systems such as India, where powers are divided between the central government and state governments. To illustrate this principle, let's consider an example: The central government passes a law stating that the legal drinking age for the entire country is 21 years. However, a particular state government enacts its own law setting the legal drinking age within that state at 18 years.

In case of a conflict between these two laws, the Doctrine of Repugnancy comes into effect. According to this doctrine, if there is a contradiction between a law passed by the central government and a law passed by a state government on a matter included in the Concurrent List (a list of subjects on which both the central and state governments have the authority to legislate), the central government's law will take precedence, and the state government's law will be considered invalid to the extent of the inconsistency.

In the example given, since the issue of 'legal drinking age' falls under the Concurrent List, the central government's law stating the legal drinking age as 21 years will prevail over the state government's law setting it at 18 years. Therefore, the state law would be deemed void to the extent of its inconsistency with the central law.

The concept of repugnancy arises when two laws clash and yield different results when applied to the same set of facts. It occurs when the provisions of two laws are diametrically opposed and in conflict, making it difficult to adhere to one without contradicting the other. In India, the Doctrine of Repugnancy is firmly established through Article 254 of the Constitution. According to this doctrine, any State law that contradicts a Central law falling under the jurisdiction of List III is rendered void and ineffective. The Central law takes precedence and supersedes any conflicting provisions of the State legislature.

According to a series of rulings, the concept of repugnancy is applicable only when there are two contradictory laws concerning a matter within the Concurrent List of the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Only in such cases will Article 254(2) come into play.

No repugnancy when law relates to List I or List II:
When the legislation pertains to either the Union List or the State List, there can be no conflict as Parliament and the State Legislature have exclusive authority over the subjects in these lists. In this scenario, the only issue that may arise is regarding legislative competence and one of the laws must be deemed void due to being beyond the legislative powers. This can be determined by applying the doctrine of ultra vires.

Supreme Court Judgment:
In the case of Forum for People's Collective Efforts v. State of W.B., the Supreme Court outlined the key features of Article 254:
  • Firstly, Article 254(1) deals with repugnancy between laws made by the Parliament and State Legislatures on matters in the Concurrent List.
  • Secondly, if a state law is in conflict with a parliamentary law on a Concurrent List subject, the parliamentary law will take precedence, regardless of whether it was enacted before or after the State law.
  • Thirdly, in the event of repugnancy, the parliamentary law shall prevail and the State law shall be considered void to the extent of the conflict.
  • Fourthly, the conflict between a state law and parliamentary law on a Concurrent List subject can be resolved if the State law receives the assent of the President.
  • Fifthly, even if the President gives assent to a state law under clause (2) of Article 254, it does not prevent Parliament from enacting a law on the same subject as stated in the proviso to clause (2).
Previously, during the evaluation of the constitutional legality of the West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act of 2017, the Supreme Court, in its ruling, examined the established criteria for determining repugnancy and clarified how these criteria should be applied. In this particular case, the Supreme Court declared the West Bengal Housing Industry Regulatory Authority (W.B.-HIRA) as unconstitutional due to the fact that its provisions mirrored and contradicted the Central Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA), 2016.

Written By: Md.Imran Wahab
, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly