Doctrine of Repugnancy

From time immemorial, legislative bodies have been enacting laws all over the world. With the enactment of laws by different legislative bodies all over the world, conflict of laws is an unavoidable issue. However, in this article I will mainly be focusing on the conflict of laws with regard to India. In India, there are three wings of the Government, namely, The Legislature, The Judiciary and the Executive. The legislature has the law making powers for the entire country. The legislature is further divided into the Centre and the State. Doctrine of Repugnancy deals with the conflict of laws between the State and the Centre. Part XI of the Indian Constitution describes the legislative relations between the States and the Centre. The legislative field of the Parliament and the State Legislatures has been specified in Article 246 of the Constitution whereas Article 254 of the Indian Constitution describes the mechanism for resolution of conflict between the Central and the State legislations enacted with respect to any matter enumerated in List III of the Seventh Schedule.

Various judicial pronouncements have declared the pre-conditions for the application of the doctrine of repugnancy. In the case of M. Karunanidhi v. Union of India, the Constitutional Bench laid down the tests for the application of the Doctrine of Repugnancy, which is as follows:

“1. That in order to decide the question of repugnancy it must be shown that the two enactments contain inconsistent and irreconcilable provisions, so that they cannot stand together or operate in the same field.

2. That there can be no repeal by implication unless the inconsistency appears on the face of the two statutes.

3. That where the two statutes occupy a particular field, but there is room or possibility of both the statutes operating in the same field without coming into collision with each other, no repugnancy results.

4. That where there is no inconsistency but...
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