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NEW DELHI : The Supreme Court on Wednesday held in its judgement that both the central government as well as the state governments have the power to fix the price of sugarcane provided the price set by the State is higher than the minimum price fixed by the Centre.

The judgment was passed by a five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and comprising Justices Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose and it refused to refer the case to a larger bench. The judgment was delivere through video conferring.

A plea filed by Western Uttar Pradesh Sugar Mills Association questioned the power of the state government to fix a minimum price for sugarcane when the Centre had already set a price for the same.

The constitutional bench observed in its judgment that the price which is fixed by the central government is the “minimum price" and the price which is fixed by the state government is the “advised price" which is always higher than the “minimum price" fixed by the central government and therefore, there is no conflict.

It is only in a case where the “advised price" fixed by the state government is lower than the “minimum price" fixed by the central government, the provisions of the central enactments will prevail and the “minimum price" fixed by the central government would prevail. So long as the “advised price" fixed by the state government is higher than the “minimum price" fixed by the central government, the same cannot be said to be void as per the provisions of the Constitution of India.

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