State Legislature can legislate for the period prior to coming into existence of the State within the constitutional parameters

Supreme Court: Dealing with the question as whether the State Legislature could have legislated for the period prior to coming into existence of the State in the light of the Telangana (Agricultural Produce & Livestock) Markets (Amendment) Act, 2015 which has been made retrospective with effect from 01.01.2012, the Bench of Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh, JJ held that after the legislature came into existence, it has the competence to enact any law retrospectively or prospectively within the constitutional parameters.

Regarding the question as to removal of the base of earlier judgments due to the said Amendment, the Court said that there is a demarcation between legislative and judicial functions predicated on the theory of separation of powers. The legislature has the power to enact laws including the power to retrospectively amend laws and thereby remove causes of ineffectiveness or invalidity. When a law is enacted with retrospective effect, it is not considered as an encroachment upon judicial power when the legislature does not directly overrule or reverse a judicial dictum. The legislature cannot, by way of an enactment, declare a decision of the court as erroneous or a nullity, but can amend the statute or the provision so as to make it applicable to the past. The legislature has the power to rectify, through an amendment, a defect in law noticed in the enactment and even highlighted in the decision of the court. This plenary power to bring the statute in conformity with the legislative intent and correct the flaw pointed out by the court, can have a curative and neutralizing effect. When such a correction is made, the purpose behind the same is not to overrule the decision of the court or encroach upon the judicial turf, but simply enact a fresh law with retrospective effect to alter the foundation and meaning of the legislation and to remove the base on which the judgment is founded. This does not amount to statutory overruling by the legislature, however, the earlier decision of the court becomes non-existent and unenforceable for interpretation of the new legislation.

The High Court in its earlier judgment had struck down the amended provision on the foundation that there was discrimination between the existing appointees and future appointees to the office of members, Vice-Chairmen and Chairmen. As per the earlier provision members were to be appointed by the Government in consultation with the Director of Marketing from among certain categories of growers of agricultural produce, owners of livestock and products of livestock in the notified area. The High Court had opined that the classification between the two categories was not reasonable and it caused discomfort to Article 14 of the Constitution. It had given emphasis on the statutory safeguards meant for removal. The legislature after the decision of the High Court had amended the thereby removing the distinction between the existing members and the members who are to come in future. The Court said that the legislature, in its wisdom, has substituted the word “appointment” and made it “nomination with retrospective effect”. To enable it to curtail or reduce the term, the procedure for removal remains intact. A nominee can go from office by efflux of time when the period is over. That is different than when he is removed. A nominated member, in praesenti, can also be removed by adopting the procedure during the period. Otherwise, he shall continue till his term is over; and the term is one year. [Cheviti Venkanna Yadav v. State of Telangana, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 1166, decided on 24.10.2016]

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