JUSTICE S.H. KAPADIA, JUSTICE D.K. JAIN, JUSTICE SURINDER SINGH NIJJAR, JUSTICE RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI, JUSTICE JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR in the case of STATE OF KERALA & ORS. Vs. M/S. MAR APPRAEM KURI CO.LTD. & ANR., 08/05/2012
FACTS IN ISSUE:- The lis in the present case arose under the following circumstances. Many of the private chitty firms remained out of the regulatory mechanism prescribed in the Kerala Chitties Act, 1975 by registering themselves outside the State but continued to operate in Kerala. Because of this, investor protection became difficult. Consequently, Section 4 of the said 1975 Act was amended vide Finance Act 7 of 2002. By the said amendment, sub-section (1a) was inserted in Section 4. This amendment intended to bring in chitties registered outside the State having 20% or more of its subscribers normally residing in the State within the ambit of the said 1975 Act. Being aggrieved by the said Amendment, the private chitty firms challenged the vires of Section 4(1a) of the 1975 Act as repugnant under Article 254(1) to the Central Chit Funds Act, 1982. …….. whether the Kerala Chitties Act 23 of 1975 became repugnant to the Central Chit Funds Act 40 of 1982 under Article 254(1) upon making of the Central Chit Funds Act 40 of 1982 (i.e. on 19.08.1982 when the President gave his assent) or whether the Kerala Chitties Act 23 of 1975 would become repugnant to the Central Chit Funds Act 40 of 1982 as and when notification under Section 1(3) of the Central Chit Funds Act 40 of 1982 bringing the Central Act into force in the State of Kerala is issued?
i) On timing, we hold that, repugnancy arises on the making and not commencement of the law, as correctly held in the judgment of this Court in Pt. Rishikesh and Another v. Salma Begum (Smt) [(1995) 4 SCC 718].
ii) Applying the above test, we hold that, on the enactment of the Central Chit Funds Act, 1982, on 19.08.1982, which covered the entire field of “chits” under entry 7 of List III of the Constitution, the Kerala Chitties Act, 1975, on account of repugnancy as enshrined in Article 254(1), became void and stood impliedly repealed. That, on the occupation of the entire field of “chits”, the Kerala Legislature could not have enacted the State Finance Act No. 7 of 2002, inserting Section 4(1a) into the Kerala Chitties Act, 1975, particularly on the failure of the State in obtaining Presidential assent under Article 254(2).
iii) That, the Central Chit Funds Act, 1982 though not brought in force in the State of Kerala is still a law made, which is alive as an existing law. By reason of Article 367 of the Constitution, the General Clauses Act, 1897 applies to the repeal. Section 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 is, therefore, relevant, particularly Sections 6(b) and 6(c) and consequently, the previous operation of the Kerala Chitties Act, 1975 is not affected nor any right, privilege, obligation or liability acquired or incurred under that repealed State Act of 1975. Thus, after 19.08.1982, the Kerala Chitties Act, 1975 stands repealed except for the limited purposes of Section 6 of General Clauses Act, 1897. If and when the Central Government brings into force the Chit Funds Act, 1982 by a notification in State of Kerala, under Section 1(3), Section 90(2) will come into play and thereby the Kerala Chitties Act, 1975 shall continue to apply only to chits in operation on the date of commencement of the Central Chit Funds Act, 1982 in the same manner as the Kerala Chitties Act, 1975 applied to chits before such commencement.