The Tamil Nadu government, which recently enacted a pioneering law on contract farming, is taking a re-look at the legislation in the wake of an ordinance promulgated by the Central government on the subject.
The State Agriculture Department, which is in the process of getting rules scrutinised by the Law Department for the 2019 Act, is willing to wait for the Central government to come out with rules for its ordinance. Upon studying the Centre’s rules, a decision may be taken as to whether to drop the State law or modify it, an official in the know said.
Incidentally, while it is an established constitutional principle that a Central law on a given subject prevails over a State legislation, the State Law Department has held that the latter — the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Contract Farming and Services (Promotion and Facilitation) Act of 2019 — can still remain in force.
As per the opinion rendered by the Law Department subsequent to the Centre’s promulgation of the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, the two laws can co-exist. In this case, not only did the State law come into being after obtaining the assent of President Ram Nath Kovind, but it was also studied by the Centre.
Broadly, the State law and the Central ordinance have the same objective – promotion of contract farming. The former, according to the State government, has more agriculturist-friendly provisions than the latter.
Nonetheless, the Agriculture Department has chosen to wait for the Centre to come out with its rules.